Consumption of Alcohol

In the NDNS, alcohol was consumed by 10% of 1114 year olds and 37-46% of 15-18 year olds with older boys most likely to drink alcohol. Other European surveys have found higher proportions (6090% in 14-18-year-old males), while US surveys have found similar proportions to the UK. The average contribution of alcohol to energy intakes in the NDNS was just over 1%, with higher contributions reported by Danish and Irish studies (around 2-5% energy). Excess alcohol intake can increase micro-nutrient requirements but few younger adolescents fall into this category. However, binge drinking in the 15-18-year-old age group is a concern. One US study found that 20% of adolescents could be classed as problem drinkers, while 7% could be classed as alcoholics. Regular moderate consumption of alcohol can contribute to obesity since the energy provided by alcoholic drinks rarely displaces energy from other food sources. This is likely to increase overall daily energy intakes and could lead to a positive energy balance.

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