As part of Alcohol Awareness Month, new research from Aviva Health Insurance has revealed that people in Mayo are spending nearly €1,900 per year on alcohol, with men spending significantly more than women, at €2,067 and €1,713 respectively. The research also revealed that people are drinking excessively, with men consuming an average of 12 alcohol units per week and women consuming an average of nine. While this is below the recommended weekly limit of 21 units for men and 14 units for women, it raises concerns given that this limit identifies when damage is caused to one’s health by alcohol.
Regionally, the research shows that residents of counties Dublin and Louth drink the most alcohol, consuming an average of 12 units per week, while counties Carlow, Donegal, Kerry, Laois, Roscommon, and Tipperary reported the lowest level of drinking, at nine units per week. Given that an average pint of beer contains two units of alcohol, people living in Dublin and Louth are consuming approximately six pints of beer or cider or 12 glasses of wine per week. This is twice the recommended level of one glass of red wine per day that has been found to have modest health benefits.
The statistics for this research were collected via the Aviva Online Health Check which was completed by 20,043 people between December 2008 and April 2011 and involved respondents answering a series of questions on their health and lifestyle habits.
Speaking following the results of the Online Health Check, Dr Stephen Murphy of the Aviva Medical Council said: “People living in Ireland who are in work have a tendency towards a work hard, play hard lifestyle. Often drinking is used as a way to unwind after a busy week or to forget about the troubles of the day. Our research shows people are spending nearly €2,000 on alcohol annually, and also suggests that alcohol is being consumed excessively among adults. This is worrying behaviour, particularly as people tend to under-report their alcohol consumption and may be unaware that drinking has been linked to breast, liver and oral cancers.”
Earlier in the year, Aviva released smoking statistics which showed that women in Ireland are smoking double the number of cigarettes smoked by men – highlighting the trend that women are still smoking more. Therefore it is of grave concern that this latest piece of research shows men are consuming almost twice as much alcohol as their female counterparts.
In addition, Ireland has previously been ranked as having the highest rate of binge drinking in the EU, with 36 per cent of respondents to a 2007 report on attitudes towards drinking claiming that they consume an average of three to four drinks on one occasion, which equates to approximately six to eight units of alcohol.
“If you drink alcohol, be sure to do so in moderation as consuming too much can result in serious health consequences and could increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer. I would urge everyone to complete the online health check available at www.avivahealth.ie to be aware of their health habits in an effort to bring about positive changes that can prolong and improve the quality of their life,” Dr Murphy added.
To complete Aviva’s Online Health Check, log onto www.avivahealth.ie