Many young people don't know what constitutes sensible alcohol consumption

February 21, 2012

A new study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review reveals that young people do not possess the knowledge or skills required to adhere to government guidelines for responsible alcohol consumption. This article is part of the March special themed issue of the journal on low risk drinking guidelines.

Led by Richard de Visser, PhD, of the University of Sussex, researchers examined young people's knowledge of, and use of, government guidelines for safe alcohol consumption.

A total of 309 secondary school students and 125 in England completed a survey regarding knowledge and beliefs. The university students also reported their and completed tasks in which they poured their "usual" drinks and what the government guidelines for maximum "unit" consumption on a daily and weekly basis.

Most respondents lacked the knowledge and skills required to drink in accordance with government guidelines. Participants' "usual" drinks were substantially larger than one unit, and tended to underestimate the unit content of drinks.

For 5 of the 7 items examining knowledge and guidelines, fewer than half of the gave correct responses.

Although university students gave a significantly greater number of accurate estimates than did school students, only ¼ of their estimates were within plus or minus 10% of actual content. The majority of estimates were underestimates: 52% among ; 65% among university students.

"Our results mean that people's reports of drinking patterns in research may lead to inaccurate estimates of the health effects of different levels of alcohol use," de Visser notes. "There may be a need for more and/or different alcohol education in schools and the media."

Explore further: Alcohol consumption guidelines inadequate for cancer prevention

More information: de Visser and Birch. My cup runneth over: Young people’s lack of knowledge of low-risk drinking guidelines. Drug and Alcohol Review. DOI: 10.1111/j.1465-3362.2011.00371.x

Related Stories

Alcohol consumption guidelines inadequate for cancer prevention

July 11, 2011
Current alcohol consumption guidelines are inadequate for the prevention of cancer and new international guidelines are needed, states an analysis in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Relation of alcohol consumption to colorectal cancer

September 13, 2011
A meta-analysis of case-control and cohort studies on the association of alcohol consumption with colorectal cancer was carried out, based on 22 studies from Asia, 2 from Australia, 13 from Western Europe, and 24 from North ...

Underage drinking among close friends high indicator of future alcohol use by black teens

November 1, 2011
Research led by University of Southern California (USC) professor Mary Ann Pentz, Ph.D., shows that black middle school students whose close friends drink alcohol are more likely to drink alcohol in high school than their ...

Recommended for you

Newly deciphered vitamin D regulatory pathway opens doors to clinical research

August 21, 2017
Biochemists at the University of Wisconsin–Madison have deciphered the molecular mechanisms that underpin how the synthesis of the active form of vitamin D is regulated in the kidney, summing up decades of research in this ...

Clay-based antimicrobial packaging keeps food fresh

August 21, 2017
Sometimes it seems as if fresh fruits, vegetables and meats go bad in the blink of an eye. Consumers are left feeling frustrated, often turning to less expensive processed foods that last longer but are less nutritious. Now ...

Despite benefits, half of parents against later school start times

August 18, 2017
Leading pediatrics and sleep associations agree: Teens shouldn't start school so early.

Doctors exploring how to prescribe income security

August 18, 2017
Physicians at St. Michael's Hospital are studying how full-time income support workers hired by health-care clinics can help vulnerable patients or those living in poverty improve their finances and their health.

Schoolchildren who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try tobacco

August 17, 2017
Vaping - or the use of e-cigarettes - is widely accepted as a safer option for people who are already smoking.

Federal snack program does not yield expected impacts, researchers find

August 17, 2017
A well-intentioned government regulation designed to offer healthier options in school vending machines has failed to instill better snacking habits in a sample of schools in Appalachian Virginia, according to a study by ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.