Studies show surprising fact about Aussies and their booze
Although many Australians are consuming more alcohol during the lockdown report, new research reveals nearly one in four have actually been drinking less than they usually do over the past few weeks.
Research by Australian personal finance app Humaniti found that while 19 per cent of respondents reported drinking more than usual over the past few weeks, 23 per cent said they were actually drinking less.
About 58 per cent of the more than 900 respondents said they were drinking about the same amount.
The research comes after a YouGov poll of more than 1000 Australian adults on Thursday showed that 70 per cent of people were drinking more than normal and one third were consuming alcohol every day.
Data from a third research group, Bastion Consulting, reveals that while 37 per cent of drinkers are drinking more at the moment, 18 per cent had actually cut back their intake during the lockdown.
Dr Sandro Demaio, CEO of VicHealth, said the suggestions that some people were drinking less was a "promising sign" but it ran counter to the anecdotal evidence of the panic-buying of alcohol seen in many Australian bottle shops.
"The alcohol industry has really taken advantage of the current climate and encouraged people to stock up through various and often devious measures and increasing their marketing, particularly of home delivery services," Dr Demaio said. "We really need people to understand the limits set by bottle shops are not healthy limits. Sticking to the national guidelines of no more than two standard drinks a day is really important."
The alcohol industry hit back at the YouGov polling.
Andrew Wilsmore, CEO of Alcohol Beverages Australia, said the research "was conducted at a snapshot in time when there was concerns bottle shops would close".
"Once governments assured supply and access to bottle shops, there has been a return to more normal trading, but that has not made up for the total loss of sales from pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants," he said.
The stresses of the homestay people have been prompting many people to reach for the bottle more than they otherwise might, but Dr Demaio said alcohol "should not be the answer".
"This could take months before we return to normal, so it's important to find healthier ways of coping; ways that are going to support your immune system, support your body through this period, and support your mental health. And alcohol is also incredibly high in calories."
Dietitian and Dry July Ambassador Chloe McLeod advised people who were looking to cut down their intake to aim for three or four alcohol-free days per week, but two at a minimum, and to avoid starting drinking too early in the day.
"Think about why you are reaching for that drink - has it been a difficult day? Are you feeling more stressed/anxious/sad than usual? If so, question if alcohol will really help," Ms McLeod said. "Whilst it may feel that way in the short term, in the long term it is more likely to compound it and make it worse."
She also encouraged Aussies to take part in Dry July this year.
"Knowing that going sober for a month and raising money for a good cause can be a great motivator," she said.
Originally published as Nearly one in four drinking less