Boomers hitting booze at risky levels

Boomers hitting booze at risky levels

Wellbeing
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Older people are drinking more and more, according to a new study.

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ENJOY a tipple or three at happy hour? You’re not alone. 

A Flinders University study shows more and more baby boomers are hitting the booze at risky levels.

Researchers led by Ann Roche analysed data from the tri-annual National Drug Strategy Household Survey. They found between 2004 and 2016, the proportion of risky drinkers increased from 13.4 per cent to 13.5 per cent, and the proportion of high-risk drinkers increased from 2.1 per cent to 3.1 per cent.

“Specific characteristics of baby boomers may be important contributors to the changing pattern of consumption, which is in stark contrast to the significant decrease in risky drinking among people aged 12– 24 years during the same period,” Professor Roche and research officer Victoria Kostadinov wrote.

“Older people are vulnerable to a range of alcohol-related adverse effects, including falls and other injuries, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, mental health problems, obesity, liver disease, and early onset dementia and other brain injury.

“Age-appropriate resources and techniques for clinical practice are also required for encouraging low-risk drinking in more vulnerable groups of older people, and for minimising the risks of alcohol-related harm,” they concluded.

The authors did concede that it wasn’t just older people indulging more.

“The rising prevalence of risky drinking therefore cannot be attributed solely to increasing numbers of older people,” they wrote.

“Although the increases in the proportions of risky and high-risk drinkers are small, they nevertheless correspond to an additional 400 000 people drinking at potentially problematic levels.

The study was published today in the Medical Journal of Australia.

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