4715.0 - National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, 2018-19 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/12/2019   
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Alcohol consumption


In general, alcohol is consumed in Australia at levels of low immediate risk. However, some people drink at levels that may increase their risk of developing health problems over the course of their life, as well as increasing their risk of alcohol-related injury.

Single occasion risk

A person’s alcohol consumption risk level was assessed using the National Health and Medical Research Council’s 2009 guideline for single occasion risk [1].

More than half (54%) of people aged 18 years and over had exceeded the single occasion risk guideline (more than four standard drinks on one occasion in the last 12 months).

The proportion of people who had exceeded the single occasion risk guideline was:

    • lower than in 2012–13 (57%)
    • about the same for people living in non-remote areas (54%) and remote areas (53%)
    • lower for people aged 55 years and over (34%) than for any other age group.

The proportion of people aged 18 years and over who had exceeded the single occasion risk guideline was higher for males (65%) than females (43%). For those aged 55 years and over, the proportion for males (47%) was around double the proportion for females (23%).


Exceeded single occasion risk guideline, by age and sex
Graph shows the proportion of people who exceeded the single occasion risk guideline was higher for males than females for all age groups from 18 years and over.

Source(s): 2018–19 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey


The National Health and Medical Research Council’s guidelines recommend no alcohol for people aged 15–17 years. When assessed against the single occasion risk guideline, 18% of people aged 15–17 years had exceeded it.

Lifetime risk

A person’s alcohol consumption risk level was assessed using the National Health and Medical Research Council’s 2009 guideline for lifetime risk [1].

Two in 10 (20%) people aged 18 years and over had exceeded the lifetime risk guideline (consumed more than two standard drinks per day on average).

The proportion of people who exceeded the lifetime risk guideline was:
    • the same as in 2012–13 (20%)
    • about the same for people living in non-remote areas (21%) and remote areas (17%).

The proportion of people aged 18 years and over who had exceeded the lifetime risk guideline was three times higher for males (30%) than females (10%). For those aged 18–24 years, the proportion for males (33%) was around four times higher than the proportion for females (8%).


Exceeded lifetime risk guideline, by age and sex
Graph shows the proportion of people who exceeded the lifetime risk guideline was higher for males than females for all age groups from 18 years and over.

Source(s): 2018–19 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey


People who had not consumed alcohol

Around one-quarter (26%) of people aged 18 years and over had not consumed alcohol in the last 12 months or had never consumed alcohol, up from 2012–13 (23%).

The proportion of people who had not consumed alcohol or never consumed alcohol was:
    • higher for females (31%) than males (19%)
    • higher for people living in remote areas (37%) than non-remote areas (23%).


Footnote
1. See Assessing health risk factors (appendix) for more information about how single occasion and lifetime risk was assessed using these guidelines.