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Children - teach your parents well

While youth drinking continues to fall, it’s parents and grandparents who continue to over-indulge, if health statistics are accurate, says the New Zealand Alcohol Beverage Council (NZABC).

“What we want to see is the downward consumption trend that has occurred among young people in the past decade start to influence their parents,” says Executive Director Nick Leggett.

Ministry of Health figures show that per-person consumption is falling across all age groups, except those aged 45-55.

NZABC says much of the focus on problem drinking relates to young people who have actually significantly improved their habits in terms of bingeing and overall harm.

“The children raised at the time of the six o’clock swill are not reducing their consumption, and industry and health authorities need to consider and respond to this problem.”

Nick Leggett says the alcohol industry is keen to work alongside the Government on this.

“We know it will be a hard nut to crack because this is the wealthiest group in society, so price and regulation will have little impact. It will be about growing awareness to change habits to best reduce the amount they drink.”

“Education around safe consumption levels is paramount, including the need to have at least two days a week without alcohol, understanding how to measure a unit of alcohol, and focusing on the alcohol content of different drinks as well as lower and no-alcohol alternatives.

“You could almost say some reverse engineering is required – the children could be teaching their parents.

New Zealanders are drinking 25% less than they were in the 1970s but that didn’t come about because of regulation, rather it’s been about people understanding more about the negative impacts of alcohol on their bodies and their behaviour.

“We have to push the idea of moderation for those who choose to drink.

“Middle-aged people have been left out of that equation, and as a result they are the one group who are drinking more. It’s going to take a partnership between health and industry to begin to improve those results.”

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