Gap between men and women when it comes to alcohol is narrowing: study

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HARMFUL LEVELS:
Researchers analyzing survey data from 2014 to 2018 concluded that societal factors likely played a role in the increase in alcohol consumption among women

  • By Lin Hui-chin and William Hetherington/staff reporter, with a staff editor

The percentage of Taiwanese women who consume harmful amounts of alcohol is on the rise, especially in the 18-29 age group, according to a study by the National Health Research Institutes (NHRI).

The gap between the number of men and women who drink alcohol is narrowing, which is likely due to societal changes, the INDH said.

The government should change laws to require the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption to be more clearly stated on the packaging of alcoholic beverages, he said.

Photo: Huang Mei-chu, Taipei Times

The research team looked at survey data from 2014 to 2018 and found that the gender gap in alcohol consumption over the period had narrowed each year, the director of the Research Center said. NHRI neuropsychiatrist Chen Wei-jen (陳為堅), who led the team.

The survey defined binge drinking as more than five units of alcohol in a single drinking session, with one unit defined as a 350ml can of beer or the equivalent in alcohol content.

The team used the alcohol use disorder identification test developed by the WHO to define harmful alcohol use. The test consists of 10 questions with scores of one to four points each.

People who score eight or higher are considered to have “harmful” drinking habits that affect personal relationships, work and other factors in their lives, Chen said.

They may also experience anxiety or depression when not consuming alcohol, he said.

In 2014, 37.99% of men surveyed said they had drunk harmful levels of alcohol, while only 5.3% said they had done so in 2018. Over the same period, the number of women surveyed who engaged in harmful drinking rose from 1.32% to 1.72%, he added. .

The age group of 18 to 29 rose from 1.63 percent to 1.84 percent, Chen said, adding that the majority of people in this category had a college education and worked in professional professions.

“The gender gap in alcohol consumption has also narrowed in recent years in South Korea and Japan,” he said. “However, in these countries, men have reduced their alcohol consumption, while women are drinking the same amount as before, while in Taiwan, women are drinking more than before.”

Chen said the decline in binge drinking among men may be due to stricter laws against driving under the influence, while the increase among women may be due to more women working in the workplace. liberal professions.

Alcoholic beverage companies also produced ads targeting women, he said.

“International companies selling alcoholic beverages have seen the potential of the Asian market and Taiwan does not have laws against alcohol advertising like it does for tobacco products,” he said.

“Alcohol is legal, but we must be aware of the dangers of overconsumption, including alcohol poisoning, injury from falls, sexual assault and other latent dangers,” he said. he adds.

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