SYDNEY, Australia – New study suggests that aged women tend to drink more alcohol than younger ones.
A new study done by researchers from New Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Australia, in collaboration with Aalborg University in Denmark, was published in the Sociology of Health and Illness journal. Based on the results of the study, it shows that women between the age of 50 and 70 have a high probability of consuming alcoholic drinks than younger women. Further, the levels of alcohol confirmed by the age group also exceed the low-risk guidelines for drinking, according to the study.
The researchers discovered that despite the possible health consequences that women may get from drinking in exceeding amounts based on the national drinking guidelines, a lot of young-old and middle-aged women drink alcoholic beverages at a high-risk level. Also, according to the findings of the new research, women in this age group tend to perceive that their excessive alcohol consumption is acceptable and even normal, as long as they appear in control and respectable even after the amounts of alcohol they consumed.
The new study was led by the School of Medical and Health Sciences of ECU and header by Dr. Julie Dare. It examined the social construction of alcohol consumption of 49 women between the age of 50 and 69 in Australia and Denmark.
Meanwhile, the Australian Government Department of Health had a published alcohol consumption guideline, citing that alcohol is never 100% safe to drink, and consuming more of it will pose greater risks to one’s health.
The guideline from the department is intended for children and young people, adults, and pregnant women.
The department has reiterated that drinking alcoholic beverages is never free of risk, and it affects everyone. For adults, the department suggested to drink alcohol not exceeding ten standard drinks every week or to drink not exceeding four standard drinks in one day to reduce any health risks or any alcohol-related injury and disease.
Based on the guideline, a standard alcoholic drink contains around 10g of alcohol, and some drinks might contain over one standard drink in them. With this, the department suggested checking the container or bottle to determine how many standard drinks it contains. But it also suggested that for some people, avoiding any alcoholic drinks might be the safest option.
Further, the Australian health authorities said that consuming over two standard alcoholic drinks may already considerably increase the risk of premature death, especially when it comes to women.
Dr. Julie Dare said that the recent study highlighted that the women who have taken part in the research from both countries stated that drinking alcohol in their age is something they still consider okay and normal.
Among the key findings in the new study is that women from both countries and in the same age group as the respondents place more significance on how they appear to be in control after consuming alcohol. According to them, that includes behaving respectably despite a significant alcohol intake. Women respondents also consider that feeling liberated and social pleasure is more important than the quantity of the alcohol they consumed on any given occasion or the potential risks to be body from consuming too much alcohol.
The new study also concluded that some of the women claimed that they are actively reducing the amount of alcohol they consume due to certain issues, such as health concerns. However, the same respondents also stated that positive and active health behaviors, such as taking exercise and having an active lifestyle, has a huge potential in neutralizing any possible alcohol-related health conditions and illness.
Another critical finding that the new study explained is that health interventions and advice in terms of the common drink practices for women, both young-old and middle-aged women, has to acknowledge and consider that they might be basing their drinking practices to concentrate on other factors other than the potential negative impacts of excessive alcohol consumption in the body.
Dare also stated that the study highlighted the extensive consumption of alcohol for both women respondents from Australia and Denmark.
One respondent in the research, a 59-year-old Australian, said that drinking alcohol has become part of the norm. She stated that it is a common thing that women do with their family, friends, and acquaintances.
Another respondent, a 69-year-old from Australia, also explained that as long as a woman doesn’t make a fool of herself after drinking alcohol, then it is normal and acceptable behavior.
According to Dr. Dare, the importance of being in control while and after drinking alcohol has been a major qualifier to the respondents’ standard for what is socially acceptable when drinking.
Dare also explained that the message and guideline from the Australian health department to drink no more than two standard drinks to avoid health risks and no more than four standard alcoholic drinks on any single day is not relevant to the women in the age group of the respondents. She said that the study results showed a fair percentage of drinking over the deemed acceptable drinking limit from the health department.
The study was able to highlight countless similarities of drinking practices in women from Australia and Denmark in that age group. However, it has also highlighted the key difference between women from both countries.
Based on the study, one of the major cultural differences in terms of drinking practices is that Australian women often relate to drinking alcohol with releasing stress.
Dare explained that for a lot of Australian women from middle-aged and young-old generation, it is most acceptable to drink alcohol if there is any stress in their lives. She said that respondents from Australia were quite open about how they resort to drinking alcohol if they had a bad day.
Meanwhile, Danish women don’t have a similar take on consuming alcohol with Australian women. Based on the report, a lot of respondents from Denmark reasoned that it is not acceptable to use alcohol as a support if they want to cope with the common daily problems in life. They reported that it is not considered acceptable to them to drink every time they feel upset or stressed.