SHEU alcohol data: beer and young people, children, school surveys

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Young people, beer and lager

The Schools Health Education Unit (SHEU) has been talking to young people, about their health and wellbeing, since 1977. The results, from the Health Related Behaviour Questionnaire (HRBQ), are used by local authorities to inform their planning. Over one million young people have responded to the HRBQ. Among the topics that are explored in the surveys is the use of alcohol. In this Byte, the focus is on the consumption of alcoholic drinks and in particular beer and lager. Questions from SHEU about drinking alcohol have been asked in schools since the early 1980s.

Table 1 (below) shows results from over 22,000 12-15 year olds in 2010 who replied to the question, “During the last 7 days, how many pints of beer or lager have you drunk?"


The consumption of beer or lager is much greater in the 14-15 year olds, and males in particular, although, in 2010, 13% of older females reported drinking it ‘in the last 7 days’. It is worthwhile pointing out that, in the response to this question in 2010, 88%-96% of over 10,000 12-13 year olds and 70%-87% of over 11,000 14-15 year olds reported consuming no beer or lager ‘in the last 7 days’.

Chart 1 (below) shows results, 1983-2011, from 10-15 year olds who reported drinking beer or lager ‘in the last 7 days’. A declining trend in reported consumption of beer or lager can be seen. The SHEU data are derived from local and not national surveys. This compilation of results shares some characteristics seen in nationally sampled surveys including the ‘peaking’ of consumption around 1995.

Chart 1. 10-15 year olds who reported drinking beer or lager ‘in the last 7 days’, 1983-2011


The above is an extract - to read the complete report click here (beer and lager pdf)