Young Aussies are hitting the bottle harder than oldies

YOUNG Aussies are hitting the turps more than adults, new research shows.

The finding was unearthed during an analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics data of National Health Surveys conducted in 2001 and 2011-12

Professor Farhat Yusuf and Emeritus Professor Stephen Leeder, from the The Menzies Centre for Health Policy, found the average daily adult alcohol intake increased by 13% - 3.9 standard drinks in 2001 to 4.3 in 2011-2012.

The researchers found 41.6% of young people downed alcohol during the week before the 2011-12 survey interviews, compared with 60.1% of those 18 years or older.

"The average daily consumption ... for those aged 15 to 19 years was 7.1 standard drinks compared to 4.3 standard drinks for adults," professors Yusuf and Leeder wrote in the latest Medical Journal of Australia. "This was 65% higher than the average for adults (4.3 standard drinks)."

The researchers also found consumption among men rose from 4.7 to 5 standard drinks and 2.8 to 3.4 standard drinks for women.

"While women consumed much less alcohol than men in each survey, the gender gap had narrowed - women had consumed 40% less alcohol than men in 2001, but only 33% less during 2011-2012," the researchers said.

The data also revealed that tertiary qualifications, employment and white-collar occupations were associated with lower daily levels of alcohol consumption.

"Moreover, relatively disadvantaged people reported higher consumption levels, and they also spent a somewhat larger proportion of their household budget on alcohol," the professors wrote.

Among those 18 years of age or older, 29.2% of men and 10.1% of women had exceeded the 2009 National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines for "safe levels", while the corresponding figures for those aged 15-19 years were 35.0% (men) and 19.8% (women).



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