Four out of five Australians consume less than two drinks a day

March 22, 2022
By Ioni Doherty

The ABS has shared the results from the National Health Survey 2020-21 indicating one in four (25.8 per cent) adults aged 18 years and over exceeded the Australian alcohol consumption guidelines, with men more likely than women to have exceeded the limits in the guidelines (33.6 per cent compared to 18.5 per cent). Over a quarter (26.8 per cent) of men were consuming more than ten standard drinks a week.*

Alcohol Beverages Australia says that the results are encouraging.

CEO Andrew Wilsmore, said, “With more than four out of five (84.8 per cent) Australians consuming less than two standard drinks a day, we can proudly say Australians are making sensible choices and choosing to act responsibly when it comes to enjoying alcohol.”

The survey covers the first year of Australia’s pandemic response and this data proves that Australians maintained a sensible relationship with alcohol, says Mr Wilsmore.

“Comparing drinking during Covid to their drinking 12 months prior, two thirds (66.4 per cent) reported their consumption had stayed about the same; nearly one in four (23.9 per cent) reported decreased consumption and fewer than one in ten (9.8 per cent) reported increased consumption,” said Mr Wilsmore.

Consumers continue to drink less but to spend more on a premium product, or explore low and zero-alcohol products. This is particularly evident in the 18-24 year old demographic.

“Young adults were less likely to drink more than two drinks a day compared with older adults and are really proving themselves as the generation of responsible moderation. One in ten (10.1%) young adults aged 18-24 years exceeded two drinks a day compared with just over one in five (20%) adults aged 55-64 years.

“It’s a strong message to those who want to regulate drinkers ever further. Australians are doing the right thing by drinking responsibly and at the same time backing an industry that supports the livelihoods of 485,000 people and generates $52 billion in economic value,” suggested Mr Wilsmore.

The ABS measures alcohol consumption is measured against the revised National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) 2020 guidelines and interprets exceeding the guideline as consuming more than 10 standard drinks in the week prior to interview, or consuming five or more standard drinks on any day in the last year at least monthly (12 occasions per year), or exceeding both components.

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