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New Study Finds Half Aussie Teens Avoid Alcohol

Posted: April 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Education, Favorite New Thought . . ., From The Web | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on New Study Finds Half Aussie Teens Avoid Alcohol

A surprising number of Australian teenagers are choosing not to drink alcohol, new research shows. The findings - from a survey of more than 2,500 teenagers - published in the medical journal Addiction indicates that half of Australian teens don't drink.

The study also found that in the years between 2001 - 2010 the number of young teenagers - aged 14 to 17 - abstaining from alcohol rose from 30 percent to more than 50 percent ::::

New Study Finds Half Aussie Teens Avoid AlcoholStudy author Dr Michael Livingston from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre says the trend away from drinking alcohol is widespread and it also reflects similar studies both in Australia and overseas.

"It's really happening across the whole youth culture, it's happening for boys and girls, young teenagers and old teenagers, in rich and poor households, for English speaking and non-English speaking groups." Dr Livingston said.

Surprisingly, while teenagers are drinking less, the research also found that they're not turning to illicit drugs or tabacco.

"In this same group we've seen a reduction in drug use. Quite a dramatic one over the same period," Dr Livingston said. "These kids are drinking less; they're not taking drugs."

Researchers have theories about why young people are making different choices at a time when alcohol is cheaper and more heavily promoted than ever.

"We know from other survey data the general public is getting more concerned about alcohol as a problem and so we're thinking possibly that's reflected in parenting practices, also in teenagers' beliefs," Dr Livingston said. "There's also a sense that the current generation is very focused on health and well-being and this is one step they're taking to try and stay fitter and healthier. There's some research from Sweden that just engaging in [online] activities, social networking and gaming, is associated with less drinking."

The study's findings have been welcomed by Life Education, which teaches Australian primary school students about healthy habits. National program development manager Robyn Richardson says the research helps bust myths among young people about drinking.

"Children in primary school are telling us that they know that when they go to high school there's going to be pressures to drink and that most people in high school are drinking and we're actually readjusting their thinking about that," Ms Richardson said. "This report is confirming that normalisation, that there's safe and healthy choices around drinking and it's an OK choice not to drink and it's an OK choice for your friends not to drink. The reality is most young people are making great choices about their health and safety."

However, the research also found that teenagers grew out of their non-drinking habits, with abstention decreasing with age.

With more than 20 percent of Australians consuming alcohol at levels considered 'at risk' the teenage decline is welcome, it's also not confined to Australia.

"We have seen similar recent trends in the Nordic countries and the United States of America, all countries with strong temperance traditions and increasing public concern about adolescent drinking." Dr Livingston said. "Also, the Australian population is increasingly multicultural, with a steady rise in residents from typically lighter-drinking cultures. So the trend toward alcohol abstention among Australian adolescents could have something to do with deep cultural beliefs, increased social concerns about young drinkers, and subtle changes in immigration."

He said it remains to be seen whether these changes will be carried through as this group ages. In 2010 young adults between 18-29 years were more likely than any other age group to consume alcohol in quantities that place them at risk of injury or other harm over their lifetime.



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source: wiley
source: ndarc
source: sahealth
source: embargoed
image source: indeepmedia



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