Aug 21, 2017

Wising up to a culture of drink

Catherine Lambert – The Daily Telegraph

A decade ago, 52 per cent of people were drinking to excess when they socialised, but that number has now dropped to 33 per cent, according to a 10-year study commissioned by DrinkWise.

The social change organisation’s ambassador Dr Andrew Rochford said the message about excessive drinking was finally getting through to the community.

“It’s always been difficult to tackle the huge drinking culture in Australia but people are definitely reporting that they’re moving towards a more healthy relationship with alcohol,” Dr Rochford said.

“It’s really no longer regarded as cool because there is a greater shift towards pursuing a healthy lifestyle among young people in particular.

“They’re more conscious and thoughtful about their choices.”

The research also found 20 per cent of Australians abstain from alcohol altogether, compared to only 11 per cent in 2007. And where and what we are drinking has changed as well, with 63 per cent of people choosing to drink at home while enjoying a meal or barbecue rather than going out.

Matthew Hughes, 29, said his priorities have now changed and weekends are a precious chance to exercise and enjoy the outdoors.

“I don’t want to wake up on a Sunday morning on a lounge feeling sorry for myself and unhealthy,” Mr Hughes said.

“I want to wake up during the week feeling fresh so I only ever have a couple of drinks and on the weekend I’m in the gym or out running.

“As I see my friends less because I’m building my career, I want to maximise the times I have with them by talking and enjoying their company.”

Rachel Cox, 24, said her social life is more about attending yoga and pilates classes with friends followed by a healthy breakfast. She said: “I love my healthy, active lifestyle and maximising the days when I’m away from work so I’ll only ever have one or two glasses of wine at a wine bar or a friend’s house.”

Dr Rochford said “it has a flow-on effect’’, adding: “At least there’s a trend towards understanding the impact drinking has on our health.”

Originally published by Catherine Lambert on The Daily Telegraph.