United Kingdom millennials are drinking less alcohol, study finds

Henrietta Strickland
October 12, 2018

Meanwhile, the proportion of "lifetime abstainers" rose from 9% to 17%.

The team of researchers from the University College London conducted a survey and noted that almost 50 percent of the participants had not touched alcohol in the past week.

The study also appeared to show fewer young people were drinking harmful amounts.

The researchers said it was "difficult to pinpoint a single factor" behind the trends, but suggested that increased awareness of the dangers of alcohol and tougher laws on its sale to minors may have contributed.

In conclusion, the study said: "Increases in non-drinking among young people has coincided with a delayed initiation into alcohol consumption and are to be welcomed".

The team used data from 9,699 people aged 16-24 years collected between 2005-2015.

Researchers at University College London, who analysed figures from the annual Health Survey for England, discovered that the proportion of 16 to 24-year-olds who don't drink alcohol increased from 18 per cent in 2005 to 29 per cent in 2015.

However, our study found that non-drinking was not increasing among these groups but rather across a wide spectrum including, among the white population, north and south regions, students, those in employment and across higher and lower social classes.

Nearly a third of young adults are turning away from alcohol, making them the most sober in recent history, a major study has found.

The study that looked at the drinking habits of nearly 10,000 16 to 24-year-olds, also found the non-drinking trend was spread across many social classes and geographical regions. Rates of not drinking in the past week have also risen from 35% in 2005 to 50% in 2015.

"That the increase in non-drinking was found across many different groups suggests that non-drinking may becoming more mainstream among young people which could be caused by cultural factors".

Not all groups are shunning the bottle, however, as increased rates of abstention were absent among smokers, ethnic minorities and those with poor mental health. The trend for abstinence and benefits to public health could be capitalized on going forward. Risky behaviors such as binge drinking "may be becoming less normalized", the authors explain, while not-drinking "maybe becoming more acceptable".

Just one in 10 English teenagers drank alcohol weekly in 2014, down from around half in 2002, the World Health Organization said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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