A new study has examined the way in which we drink, and the results may surprise you.
The study has identified a decline in underage binge drinking and an increase in the age at which many young people have their first alcoholic drink.
It found the number of Australians aged between 14 and 17 who are binge drinking has decreased by half over the last 13 years, while the number of abstainers has more than doubled.
Funded by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) and undertaken by the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research (CAPR), the study, Understanding recent trends in Australian alcohol consumption, draws insights from five waves of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s National Drug Strategy Household Survey (2001 to 2013) involving more than 120,000 respondents.
However Australians aged 18 – 29 have shown a reluctance to curb their attitude towards alcohol, with the rates of heavy drinking staying much the same, whilst increasing amongst Australia’s older generations.
The current 2013 data shows 5.1 per cent of 14-17 year olds reported drinking 20 or more standard drinks in a session at least once in the last 12 months, down from ten per cent in 2001.
Similarly, the proportion of Australians aged 14-17 who had consumed five or more standard drinks on an occasion has also halved, from 41.8 per cent down to 19.8 per cent over the same period.
Report author Dr Michael Livingston was encouraged to see such promising trends.
“Young people have sharply reduced their drinking over the last decade; in particular Australian teenagers are drinking less alcohol, and in less risky quantities,” Dr Livingston said.
More than half (57.3 per cent) of Australians aged between 14 and 17 are abstaining from drinking alcohol altogether, compared to 28 per cent in 2001.