Almost 30% of young people in England do not drink, study finds

Those aged 16-24 are the most sober in recent history

The research by University College London said abstaining from alcohol was becoming more mainstream among young people, with an increase in the proportion of 16 to 24 years olds in England shunning alcohol completely.

Researchers studied data on nearly 10,000 youngsters, collected via the annual Health Survey for England.

"It may be that young people are more aware of the impact that social media has on all areas of life and how they can be portrayed after having a few drinks", he told The Times. The number of lifetime abstainers has also nearly doubled from 9% in 2005 to 17% in 2015.

"It has been well documented that more young people are not drinking alcohol", wrote lead report author Dr Linda Ng Fat.

The data revealed that 29% of 16-24-year-olds in the United Kingdom don't drink alcohol - a significant increase from 18% back in 2005.

However, the increased rates in non-drinking were not observed among smokers, ethnic minorities and those with poor mental health.

Why is non-drinking on the rise?

We found the number of 16-24 year olds engaging in periodic abstinence increased ...

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Nearly a third of young adults are turning away from alcohol, making them the most sober in recent history, a major study has found.

Another factor is that younger people may be more health conscious.

The researchers examined data on 9,699 people aged 16-24 years collected as part of the Health Survey for England 2005-2015, an annual, cross-sectional, nationally representative survey looking at changes in the health and lifestyles of people across England.

Of those surveyed, 29% regarded themselves as non drinkers, up from 18% in 2005.

This would be consistent with Skog's theory on drinking behavior 'The Collectivity of Drinking Cultures' which suggests that population drinking patterns appears to move in tandem with one another; and it is actually reducing mean consumption that is effective in reducing problematic drinking overall.

The researchers said it was "difficult to pinpoint a single factor" behind the trends, but suggested that increased awareness of the dangers of alcohol and tougher laws on its sale to minors may have contributed.

"Both trends are to be welcomed from a public-health standpoint and should be capitalized on going forward".

She added: "The increase in young people who choose not to drink alcohol suggests that this behaviour maybe becoming more acceptable, whereas risky behaviours such as binge drinking may be becoming less normalised".

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