May 15, 2015 - HOW WE DRINK: HERES EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CANADIANS OVERALL BOOZY HABITS - part two

PART ONE

PART THREE


LESSON 4: WE WAIT UNTIL AFTER WORK (MOSTLY)

We’re most commonly found with a drink in our hands in the evening hours of 5pm to 10 pm, with 66% of total drinks consumed within this timeframe. According to the Ipsos data, 18 percent of drinks are downed from noon to 5 pm, and 14% in the night, past 10pm. Younger generations are more likely to stray outside the evening zone. Men are also more likely to be “routine” drinkers, says Mohler.

LESSON 5: WOMEN ARE DRINKING MORE

The biggest rise in drinking has been amongst women of childbearing years and of European descent, experts say. Countries that rank high on the United Nations index of emancipation have seen a rise in female drinkers in the past number of years (these include countries such as Norway). It’s a trend that has health experts sounding the alarm, because women process alcohol differently than men. “We tend to think, in our culture, of two things: Drunk driving and liver disease,” says Ann Dowsett Johnston, the Toronto-based author ofDrink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol, which chronicles the rise in risky drinking amongst women. “We don’t think of the 200+ cancers and diseases related to alcohol ingestion.”Fifteen percent of breast cancers draw a straight line to alcohol, she says. Women drink for a lot of the same reasons as men: To celebrate and relax. But for a modern woman laden with greater expectations on the home front and at work, it becomes both a reward and a socially acceptable coping mechanism, she says. “It’s a quick decompression tool.”

LESSON 6: EUROPEAN-CANADIANS SKEW THE NUMBERS

Canadians of European descent are driving the upward trend in drinking, says Jurgen Rehm, the director of social and epidemiological research at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. “We have a number of immigrants who drink not a lot or next to nothing, which basically means that the increase you’re seeing [in Canadians drinking] means that those who already consumed quite heavily are now drinking more.” A new study of immigrants to Ontario found that while immigrants tend to drink less than those born in Canada, place of birth was significantly associated with risky drinking, except for people who emigrated from East Asia or Northern Europe.

LESSON 7: WE’RE NOT THE BIGGEST LUSHES IN THE WORLD

While our drinking has steadily climbed, Canadians are far from the heaviest imbibers. The Eastern European nations of Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, Moldova and parts of Russia lean far heavier on the bottle and have very troubling rates of alcoholism, Rehm says. There is a long tradition in these nations of drinking until you pass out, he says — it’s “culturally acceptable behaviour” in these nations, which have long faced serious economic troubles. Canada is drinking 50-60% of what these nations consume, says Rehm, who co-authored the 2014 World Health Organization Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health. Canadians drink actually a lot more like European countries, he says. One major difference between Canada and the United States, however, is that Canadians maintain high levels of drinking after college, while Americans tend to ease off the booze, Rehm says. Sometimes that continued drinking through adulthood and parenting years leads to problems with alcohol into one’s 40s — an effect Rehm calls “plateau drinking.” “You have way less of those people in the United States,” he says.

LESSON 8: WE’RE NOT WAITING FOR THE WEEKEND

Canadians are not just working for the weekend and doing their drinking then. According to Ipsos Reid’s tracker, 40% of Canadians’ drinking happens Monday to Friday. While this habit’s pretty static across men and women and generations, baby boomers are slightly more likely to drink during the week than younger generations. “Boomers tend to be more routine-oriented with their drinking,” says Mohler. “That’s going to tie in with more weekday drinking — imagine coming home and unwinding on a more regular basis, whereas younger drinkers, Gen Y specifically, are, compared to boomers, more likely to drink around social occasions.” Not surprisingly, many of these involve food. A full 59% of our empty booze calories go down with something at least a little more nutritious. That share of drinks from the Ipsos survey is consumed with either snacks, appetizers, a light meal or something more substantial. 

Thirty-two percent of drinks accompany a meal, the survey found — baby boomers eat with 36.3% of their drinks and Gen Y 26%. Typical advice around providing a “base” for drinking by pacing oneself with food assumes the drinker is heading out on a bender, Mohler says. These data suggest the drinking is far more moderate — there’ll be one glass of wine with dinner, so no real concern about getting wasted. Forgacs credits the way the Canada’s wine industry has become more sophisticated since the 1970s, and liquor board publications like Ontario’sFood and Drink magazine promoting wine, beer and spirit pairings with food. “We, as customers have a pretty good selection of domestic wines to choose from, way more and way better than decades ago.”


 

PART THREE


 

Last updated on: 2015-06-01 | Link to this post