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Drug Alcohol Rev. 2012 Mar;31(2):213-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1465-3362.2011.00409.x. Epub 2011 Dec 19.

Know your limits: awareness of the 2009 Australian alcohol guidelines among young people.

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1
Centre for Population Health, Burnet Institute, 85 Commercial Road, Melbourne, VIC 3004, Australia. annab@burnet.edu.au

Abstract

INTRODUCTION AND AIMS:

Young people are at high risk of alcohol-related harm and injury. This study assessed awareness of the 2009 Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol, understanding of alcohol-related risks and drinking behaviours among young people.

DESIGN AND METHODS:

We recruited participants (16-29 years) from a music festival in Melbourne, Australia, January 2010. Participants self-completed a risk behaviour questionnaire which included questions regarding the 2009 guidelines. Characteristics associated with awareness of the guidelines and accurate understanding of a 'safe' number of drinks to avoid long-term harm and injury (defined as a maximum of two drinks daily and four drinks on a single occasion, respectively) were examined using multivariable logistic regression.

RESULTS:

Of 1381 participants, only 32% were aware of the 2009 guidelines, but the majority had an accurate understanding of the safe number of drinks to avoid long-term harm (74%) and injury (71%). Nonetheless, many reported drinking behaviour with risk of long-term harm (22%) or injury (54%). Participants with lower-risk drinking behaviours were more likely to have an accurate understanding of the safe number of drinks to avoid harm. Males and participants without post-high school education were significantly less likely to be aware of the guidelines and/or have an accurate understanding of alcohol-related risks (P < 0.05).

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS:

Although raising awareness of alcohol-related risks may promote reduced alcohol consumption, many young people reported consuming alcohol at harmful levels despite having an accurate understanding of alcohol-related risks. Multiple approaches to reducing alcohol-related harm in young people should be considered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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