Alcohol on the way out?
By Jim Scott
Consuming alcohol is a popular past-time amongst many under-25’s, whether that’s some university students or just a group of friends drinking to relax. Wines, beers and spirits are accessible at most major supermarkets. But as a report reveals under-25’s are turning their backs on alcohol, could the age-old tradition of cracking open a bottle of wine, or "shotting" tequila be on the way out?
Health researchers analysed health data from several years previous. The results concluded that almost a "third of 16 to 24-year-olds" in 2015 said they did not drink whereas only one in five made that suggestion in 2005. The attribution to "risky behaviour" defined as binge drinking, where the body is subject to intense amounts of alcohol and can accelerate addictiveness, was becoming less "normal" according to Dr Linda Ng Fat.
She said: "Increases in non-drinking among young people were found across a broad range of groups, including those living in northern or southern regions of England, among the white population, those in full-time education, in employment and across all social classes and healthier groups.
"The increase in young people who choose not to drink alcohol suggests that this behaviour maybe becoming more acceptable, whereas risky behaviours such as binge drinking may be becoming less normalised."
The BBC reports a closure of pubs and clubs has been blamed on the UK’s fall in drinking. Amongst rising alcohol prices and a change in how many pubs are marketed, many now target families for food, more than 17 pubs across the UK closed every week towards the end of last year.
But overshadowing that one in three UK Under-25’s was in fact teetotal. Last month, the World Health Organisation claimed the UK was the third fattest nation in Europe, driven by its "boozy lifestyle". The organisation said Britain’s alcohol consumption levels were among the highest, whilst it linked this with Britain’s high obesity rates. The Times reports, it is estimated 27.8 percent of UK adults are obese, whilst overall figures from European countries tot up to 63.7 percent.
Adding to the NHS’s already struggling hospitals, the Northampton Chronicle reports "hundreds were admitted to hospitals in Northamptonshire with alcohol-related liver disease". The report, published on Wednesday, October 10th said over a 12-month period from March 2017, 203 people admitted to hospital with liver disease. They calculated that this equalled 28 patients admitted for every 100,000 in Northamptonshire.
Alcohol and liver disease have long been associated with each other. In the New England Journal of Medicine, the effect of alcohol on the liver means some people can develop chronic liver disease, with some cases, development of progressive liver failure and risk of death. NHS guidelines say alcohol can cause fatty deposits to form in the liver, whilst excessive consumption can cause liver cirrhosis. It could seem that a rise in obesity and heightened risk of liver disease could be a major driver behind Britain's fall in alcohol consumption.