Older Australians Are Drinking More Than Their American Counterparts: International Study

South Sydney and England Rugby League players Sam Burgess (L) and George Burgess (R) drink beers during day two of the Fifth Ashes Test match between Australia and England at Sydney Cricket Ground on January 4, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Ryan Pierse / Getty Images)

Australian researchers have looked at the alcohol consumption of both men and women in Australia, the US and South Korea.

And they found Australia has the highest number of current and heavy drinkers aged 45 and over.

A study by the Centre for Research in Aging, Health & Wellbeing at the Australian National University found rates of non-drinking were higher in the US and Korea than in Australia.

Korean males were more likely to drink at risky levels than men in the other two countries but women’s rates of drinking were lowest in Korea.

Rates of abstaining were higher in the US than in Australia.

Abstaining was more likely in older age groups and heavy drinking was less likely in older age groups in the US and Korea, but not in Australia.

Socio-economic differentials for at-risk drinking (more than 14 US standard drinks/week) varied by country and gender.

In the US, at-risk drinking was associated with lower educational levels among men, but higher educational levels among women.

In Australia, at-risk drinking was associated with higher income.

The researchers write in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health: “Heavy alcohol use in middle-aged and older adults is a cause for concern.”

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