Shunning booze becoming `mainstream´ for youngsters

A road sign reading Teetotal Street

Young British people are drinking less alcohol than a decade ago, with abstinence becoming "mainstream" among teenagers and young adults, a new study reveals.

When we assessed health factors, we found that over the same period non-drinking increased among non-smokers, those with good mental health, and across all BMI categories, (but not among those with poor mental health, and smokers). This was driven by a larger proportion of young people not taking up drinking alcohol at all, which has nearly doubled over the same period (9% to 17%).

It has been well documented that more and more young people are not drinking alcohol.

Researchers analysed official health data from the last 10 years and discovered 29% of 16- to 24-year-olds in England in 2015 said they did not drink alcohol, compared to 18% in 2005.

But the increased rates of non-drinking were not observed among smokers, ethnic minorities and those with poor mental health, according to the study, which analysed data on nearly 10,000 young people.

Young people are increasingly turning their backs on booze - with nearly a third teetotal, according to a shock new study.

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"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", Dr Linda Ng Fat, lead author of the study.

The research evidence on alcohol is also growing; in recent years, we have learnt more about the link between alcohol and cancer, and the possibility that any benefit of moderate consumption is cancelled out when considering these harms or are non-existent.

According to Dr. Fat these results are also consistent with other findings such as a decline in smoking and recreational drugs abuse along with other risky behaviors.

The UCL team examined data on 9,699 people aged 16 to 24 collected as part of the Health Survey for England 2005-2015, an annual, nationally representative survey looking at changes in the health and lifestyles of people across England.

Binge drinking rates also decreased from 27% in 2005 to 18% in 2015.

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.

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