Booze on the way out?
Saturday, 9th May, 2015
By Darrin Manuel
Aussies are renowned for enjoying a drink, but new statistics show we may be gradually shedding our boozy culture.
A recent report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that Australians are drinking less alcohol than they have in the last 50 years.
The news has been welcomed by the Far West Local Health District (FWLHD), with any fall in alcohol consumption likely to benefit the overall health of the local community.
“From a health point of view any reduction in alcohol consumption, even a small reduction, is a positive thing,” said a Far West Local Health District (FWLHD) spokesperson.
“It leads to a reduction in the overall risk of harm from alcohol-related issues such as physical assaults, accidental injuries, motor vehicle accidents, chronic disease, financial and relationship stressors
“The health effects of long term alcohol abuse can result in serious and debilitating conditions ... as well as permanent disabilities resulting from alcohol-related accidents and assaults.
“Other consequences of alcohol related harm can also impact greatly on the financial social, intellectual and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities.”
The FWLHD also reported that it had seen a recent fall in the number of patients presenting to hospital with alcohol-related conditions.
Louise Gates of the ABS said the drop in alcohol consumption had also been accompanied by a change of tastes since the 1960’s, with more Australians turning to wine and shunning light beer for mid-strength and full-strength varieties.
“The pattern of alcohol consumption has changed significantly over this period.
“Fifty years ago, beer made up three quarters of all alcohol consumed, but now makes up under half at 41 per cent.
“Wine’s share has increased over the same period from 12 per cent to 38 per cent.”
Australians currently consume more white wine than red wine - 270 million litres of white wine compared with 190 million litres of red wine in 2013-14, while full strength beer remains the most popular type of beer, accounting for around three quarters of all beer in 2013-14.
“Over the past decade we have seen the popularity of mid strength beer grow at the expense of low strength beer,” said Ms Gates.
“Mid strength beer now makes up 19 per cent of all beer consumed in Australia, while low strength beer accounts for five per cent.
Meanwhile spirits, including pre-mixed beverages, increased from 13 per cent of all pure alcohol consumed in 1963-64 to 19 per cent in 2013-14.