Monday, February 16, 2015

One-third of Londoners is teetotaller

There is a shocking report for alcohol beverage dealers. Nowadays, one-fifth of the citizens in the UK never drink alcohol. In London, the proportion has reached one-third.

This report was released by Office for National Statistics. The researchers conducted the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey annually, then compared the results to that in the past. They found that binge drinker had considerably decreased for the decade.

The report says that young adults are mainly responsible for the reduced alcohol consumption. Only 2% of the youth frequently drunk  in 2013.

Office for National Statistics: Adult Drinking Habits in Great Britain, 2013

However, this report is criticized by other experts, according to the media. The main point of discussion is that this survey did not take ethnic and religious background of the respondents into account. Much more Muslims live in London compared to the past. Drinking alcohol is prohibited in Muslims for their religious norm. In addition, the growth of the older population was also omitted in this study, experts say. They warned that this result can underestimate the consumption of alcohol.

The Guardian: Teetotaller numbers rise in UK with one in five adults not drinking

Furthermore, as the researchers admitted, it is possible that under-reporting by the respondents occurred. In general, binge drinker is less likely to report the exact amount of their alcohol consumption. It is a substantial limitation of  this kind of survey with self-report.

Nevertheless, the reduction of alcohol consumption in the UK is highly reliable, in my opinion.

Similar tendency is obvious also in Japan. One of the reasons may be the increase of alternatives in entertainment. We can enjoy watching internet, playing games, or going travel with low cost. Taking alcohol is a cheap method to get pleased, but modern adults have more choices. I remember someone said that mobile phone would be a competitor of McDonald's. Indeed, youths began to consume time and money for mobile phone apps instead of chattering with friends at McDonald's.

In addition, tightened regulation for alcohol taking is also responsible for reduction. In Japan, problematic drinking in youth such as fatal rapid intake was issued in 1990s. Drunken driving has become being harshly punished.

Social economic status of the respondents should also be considered to interpret this result. People with low income tend to consume alcohol. It leads some of them to become alcohol dependent. In terms of prevention and management of alcohol-related health problem, enrichment of social welfare is essential.

By the way, I seldom drink alcohol, because I am quite vulnerable to alcohol. I was afraid that I would be often involved in annoying drinking party in the UK, but it has not been realized, fortunately.


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