Baby Boozers

While it appears the message about risky drinking is getting through to younger Australians, baby boomers are as bad as ever.

According to a research letter appearing in the latest edition of the MJA, the proportion of 55-70-year-olds who could be classed as high-risk drinkers has risen over the last 15 or so years. The South Australian researchers say this is in ‘stark contrast to the significant decrease in risky drinking among people aged between 12-24 years during the same period.’

And while they do emphasise that by far the majority of older Australians (over 80%) are abstainers or drink at low risk levels, the proportional increase of those now in the high-risk category (from 2.1% in 2004 to 3.1% in 2016) represents an additional 400,000 at-risk individuals – significant in anyone’s language. The findings were based on secondary analyses of data from National drug Strategy Household Surveys conducted in 2004, 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016.

Interestingly the researchers defined the risk categories on the basis of the maximum number of standard alcoholic drinks drunk on a single occasion over the course of a month. So low-risk were those individuals who never consumed more than four drinks in a single session, risky drinkers drank 5-10 drinks in one session at least once a month and high-risk ...

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