Russian President Vladimir Putin might be presiding over a period of dramatic economic and political crisis in the country but according to state statistics, Russians have become healthier under his leadership.
More and more Russians have been ditching the cigarettes and vodka, according to figures from Rosstat, the government's statistics agency. According to data released Sunday, while 33.7 percent of the adult Russian population smoked in 2008, in 2013 that figure had dropped to 28.3 percent.
Alcohol consumption, meanwhile, had fallen from 16.2 liters per person per year in 2008 to 11.6 liters in 2013, the data showed. As a result, the death rate from alcohol poisoning fell to 9.7 people per 100,000 in 2013 8.9 people per 100,000 in 2014, Rosstat said.
Conversely, the numbers of people aged 15 and over who had never drunk alcohol or smoked at all had risen between 2008 and 2013, too.
The results were published to outline the government's progress in improving public health in Russia as Putin had promised during his presidential inauguration ceremony in May 2012.
Putin's pledge focused on promoting a healthy way of life including eating the right things, sports and wellness programs, as well as the prevention of alcoholism, drug addiction and use of tobacco.
Putin's favour of fitness and wellbeing is well-documented with pictures of him on fishing and riding trips published a number of years ago to promote his healthy-living image.
The government claims it has invested heavily in its health drive -- despite Russia's economic crisis caused by the falling global oil price and western sanctions on the country.
Rosstat reported that 1.8 billion rubles ($3.1 million) had been allocated in 2014 to help set up sports facilities around the country and this had prompted more people to get healthy with the number of people exercising regularly rising from 20.6 percent of the population in 2012, to 29.3 percent in 2014.
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