TAIWAN STUDY: MORE YOUNG WOMEN DRINK EXCESSIVELY WHILE MEN BECOME MORE RESPONSIBLE
By Susan Lewis
Credit: Vernon Raineil Cenzon/Unsplash
The percentage of Taiwanese women who consume harmful amounts of alcohol is on the rise, particularly in the 18-to-29 age group, a study by the National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) has shown.
The study looked at survey data from 2014 to 2018. It found that 37.99 percent of men were deemed to have consumed harmful levels of alcohol in 2014, this number reduced substantially to just 5.3 percent in 2018.
Over the same period, however, the number of women engaged in harmful drinking grew from 1.32 percent to 1.72 percent.
Those in the 18-to-29 age group increased from 1.63 percent to 1.84 percent, and a majority of those in this category were university educated and worked in professional occupations.
The survey defined excessive alcohol consumption as more than five units of alcohol in a single session of drinking, with one unit defined as a 350ml can of beer or equivalent in alcohol content.
The team used the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test developed by the WHO to define harmful consumption of alcohol. The test includes 10 questions with scores of one to four points each.
People who score eight or higher are deemed to have “harmful” alcohol-consumption habits that affect personal relationships, work and other factors of their lives, said NHRI Center for Neuropsychiatric Research director Chen Wei-jen, who led the study.
Chen said the decline in heavy drinking among men could be due to stricter laws against driving under the influence, while the increase in women might be due to more women working in professional occupations.
“The gender gap in alcohol consumption has been shrinking in the past few years in South Korea and Japan as well,” Chen told Taipei Times.
“However, in those countries men have reduced their alcohol consumption, while women have been drinking the same amount as earlier, whereas in Taiwan women are drinking more than before.”
Alcoholic beverage companies have also been producing advertisements targeting women. The study report calls on the Taiwan government to amend the laws to require health warnings on the labels of alcoholic drinks.
“International companies selling alcoholic beverages have seen the potential in the Asian market and Taiwan does not have laws against advertising alcohol as it does for tobacco products,” said Chen.
“Alcohol is legal, but we need to be aware of the dangers of overconsumption, including alcohol poisoning, injury from falls, sexual assault and other latent dangers,” he added.
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