Australia’s biggest drinkers revealed…and they’re not who you think 12



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It has been found that our nation’s heaviest drinkers are not who we thought they were – in fact they are polar opposites.

If your daughter or granddaughter has been to uni and has a well-paying job, there’s a high chance she’s also a drinker – the biggest alcohol consumers were found to be either well-educated women or uneducated men, according to a new report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The OECD report has interestingly showed that dangerous drinking occurs are opposite ends of the social spectrum, meaning that for the first time in a long time, women could be become the new target of public health messages aimed at reducing how much alcohol is consumed – alcohol is linked to heart disease, which is Australia’s biggest killer, as well as a range of other health issues including liver damage and brain function.

The report found women who were higher educated, with a higher socio-economic status were more likely to be dangerous drinkers almost all of the 15 countries studied, while the reverse was true for men.

So why are educated women drinking more? According to the data from the report, Tackling Harmful Alcohol Use: Economics and Public Health Policy, the may be caused by stress from their high-paying jobs, or by social pressure – it’s now much more acceptable for “classy” women to drink in excess.

“More years spent in education, improved labour market prospects, increased opportunities for socialisation, delayed pregnancies and family ties, are all part of women’s changing lifestyles, in which alcohol drinking, sometimes including heavy drinking, has easily found a place,” the report said.

Even Public Health Association chief executive Michael Moore was surprised to see wealthy women among the biggest drinkers as less educated, poorer men were already on the radar.

“To find that it also applies to higher educated, higher socio-economic status women is a really interesting finding that will need us to make us re-think how we target messages”, he told Fairfax.

Overall, Australia adults drink the equivalent of 10 litres of pure alcohol each year, whereas the global average is around nine litres.

But even our younger grandchildren are starting to drink earlier, with girls catching up to boys. 40 per cent of 15-year-olds have been drunk before.

It’s clear that this report highlights the need to regulate access to alcohol and educate the public on its dangers.


Tell us, what conversation will you be having with your grandchildren or even adult children? How should alcohol be promoted, if at all? Should it be treated like cigarettes or is it everyone’s free choice? Are you worried for your grandchildren?

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  1. None of this surprises me. The only thing that surprises me is that this information has only just come out.

  2. I agree with Ruth, I see it at family gatherings, with a young mother of three, drink in one hand cigarette in the other and het kids running wild

  3. I was never a drinker as a young adult or even when my children were growing up. Feel a mother has to be responsible in front of her children. Now as a mature aged person I enjoy a G&T at 4.45PM everyday. Occasionally a nice bottle of white with a neighbour. If one of the grandchildren is staying over never drink.

  4. It is with great sadness that I discovered, albeit too late, my beautiful was a secret heavy drinker. Now it is too late to have that discussion as she ended her life 4years ago. It distorted her thinking, I imagine, otherwise how could she leave her beautiful daughter?
    She was a highly educated woman with an executive position and I never got the chance to tell her how proud I was, how much I loved her, I knew something was wrong as she had become hostile and distant towards all who cared about her.

  5. i need a woman who do not drink always maybe occasionally,to be love and be loved send me a request now if u are the one ,

  6. This article makes sense. When I was uneducated I drank most days of the week. Now that I have a masters, two bachelor degrees, a diploma and a few other things, I drink about one glass of wine per day and a few additional beers on Fridays.

    It took me 40 years to become a responsible drinker. But well before then I learnt that when I had a skin full, instead of taking one day to recover, it took two or three. Age and reducing social activities help slow down one’s drinking, which is probably a good thing if you can manage to live past your youth.

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