Young People Not Prepared to Self-Assess Drinking

Alcohol is a pervasive part of teen culture. A new report from Britain shows that part of the problem is that young people are not very good at judging how much alcohol they consume. This leads to unsafe levels of drinking. The British survey, conducted through the University of Sussex, polled people between the ages of 18 and 25 about what they knew and what they believed concerning drinking safely.  Participants were questioned about what constitutes safe and unsafe drinking and about their understanding of government drinking guidelines. Less than 50 percent of the respondents knew about the government recommendations, although they were aware of the daily unit recommendations. Participants were also asked to fill glasses with what would be a normal serving of beer, wine or vodka and told to gauge how many units each drink contained. Two out of three participants underestimated the amount and thus consumed unsafe amounts of alcohol. In Britain, consumption exceeding three to four daily units for a male and two to three daily units for a female are considered excess drinking. Young people were surprised to learn that two small glasses of 12 percent wine equal three units and one pint of dark beer (five percent) equals three units. In other words, young adults lack both proper information and adequate skill in judging whether the amount of alcohol they are consuming is safe. Most teens seem to think they are drinking safely when, in fact, they are not.  This lack of judgment could lead to problematic alcohol addiction as well as long-term health issues.

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