Updated 07 January 2019

SA is drinking more

South Africans are drinking more alcohol than four decades ago, according to a hot-off-the-press report by the Medical Research Council (MRC).

Food balance sheets, that compare alcohol consumption of South Africans in 1962 with consumption in 2001, show that alcohol intake has increased from an average 0,12g to 0,16g per person per day.

According to the report by researchers from the MRC's Chronic Diseases of Lifestyle Unit and Burden of Disease Research Unit, certain trends are also noticeable from two surveys conducted in the 90s.

One study found that more than 30% of the teenagers studied, drank and/or binged on alcohol in the preceding 30 days.

In adults, nearly 30% of males reported to use alcohol excessively, compared to 10% of females.

Risk factor for chronic disease

Lead author Dr Nelia Steyn and fellow researchers note that high alcohol consumption is a risk factor for chronic disease such as stroke, diabetes and cancer of the oesophagus, liver and breast.

"High alcohol consumption... is an underlying determinant that needs to be addressed in the prevention of non-communicable diseases," the researchers say. – (Carine van Rooyen, Health24)


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