The study of 10,000 people in the UK, published this month and comparing 2005 to 2015, says that abstaining from alcohol has become more ‘mainstream’ behaviour for young people.
The proportion of 16 – 24 year olds who do not drink alcohol has risen from 18% in 2005 to 29% in 2015.
The study says the increase in non-drinking “suggests that this behaviour maybe becoming more acceptable among young people, whereas risky behaviours such as binge drinking may be less normalised; both trends are to be welcomed from a public-health standpoint and should be capitalised on going forward.”
The new figures follow an overall trend towards abstention across all ages: around 10% classified themselves as non-drinkers in 1998; increasing to 15% in 2009, and up to 21% in 2013. The increase has been the greatest among young adults.
The study says it is difficult to pinpoint a single factor for the decline in alcohol consumption.
Source: BMC Public Health 2018, 18:1090 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-5995-3
‘Investigating the growing trend of non-drinking among young people; analysis of repeated cross-sectional surveys in England 2005–2015’
Authors: Linda Ng, Nicola Shelton and Noriko Cable