Many risky drinkers in the Netherlands: ‘behaviour change takes a long breath’

The Trimbos institute investigated for the first time how many Dutch as a risky drinker may be considered. 14 percent by drinking in the issues to come. That also brings health risks.

A glass of wine with dinner, a beer on the Saturday night. “Drink with moderation” has been for many years the message we repeatedly hear. But there is also a sizable group that can be described as risky drinkers. This applies for up to 1.8 million people, according to figures from the Leefstijlmonitor of the Trimbos-institute in cooperation with the Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS) and the national Institute for public Health and the Environment (RIVM).

These risky drinkers are experiencing repeated problems due to their drinking. A small part of this group is dependent on alcohol, ” explains Karin Monshouwer of the Trimbos institute. “A risky drinker drinking not only more, but comes through in the problems. Think of a Sunday night with lots of drink giving you on Monday is not functioning well at work. Or with too much alcohol behind the wheel.”

It is the first time that nationwide research has been done on this group. Also the environment of these drinkers will notice these problems.

Drinking is part of Dutch culture

In 2017 drank 9.2 percent of the 18-somethings in the Netherlands, excessive alcohol, that comes down to a quantity of more than 21 glasses per week for men and more than 14 glasses per week for women.

This is 11.5 percent of men and 7 percent of women, according to the research.

“Especially in the age group eighteen to thirty is quite drunk.”
Karin Monshouwer, Trimbos institute

The group which is relatively the most to drink, consists of young adults under thirty. The group of women and men between 30 and 49 years of age drank the least. From the age of fifty is growing, the consumption of alcohol. There is also a significant group who have no or maximum one glass of alcohol per day drink. This is true for more women (50.6 percent) than men (29,3 percent).

Drinking remains a part of our culture. Also, around the holidays there is plenty of advertised with wine, beer and champagne. And let the kerstborrel of the work will not be forgotten, where not everyone can manage to dispense.

“Especially in the age group eighteen to thirty is quite drunk,” says Monshouwer. This is also associated with health risks. So can alcohol consumption, various forms of cancer cause.

The group of risky drinkers are also more often suffer from memory loss, aggression and vandalism. Also, they come more often in the problems with alcohol behind the wheel.

Dutch people drink mostly beer. (Photo: 123RF)

‘Behaviour of adults, change is difficult’

Despite the many attempts of both the government as well as bodies dealing with the issue concerned, there are no fundamental changes to our drinking behaviour. What should really happen to that? According to Monshouwer, there must be a cultural change to be achieved, such as with smoking happened.

“That requires a longer breath, and calls for several measures, a mix of prevention and the change of the offer.” Alcohol should then, for example, are less apparent, such as on the street and in shops.

“The Dutch drink annually 7 litres of pure alcohol per head of the population.”
Dutch Institute for alcohol policy

Although we every year to know more about the damage that alcohol can do, it changes us, drinking is not significantly. However, there are also changes to be seen. So is the alcohol consumption of children aged twelve to sixteen has declined.

“Around the year 2000, we saw young children of that age alcohol use, which was not seen as something very special seen,” says Monshouwer. “If children in the home would learn to drink, then they would have to use it wisely, they said. But nowadays we find it natural that children of that age have no alcohol.” Monshouwer stresses that it is more difficult to control the behavior of adults to change.

Dutch people drink mostly beer, according to a summary of what we consume. Dutch people drink every year 7 litres of pure alcohol per head of the population, according to sales figures from 2016. In 1979 was that quantity with 9,09 litre much higher.

On average, 3.4 out of 7 liters of alcohol from beer, followed by wine with 2.5-litre and 1.1-litre comes from spirits.

The Dutch are not big drinkers

In comparison with other countries, Dutch people are not big drinkers, according to figures from the global health organization WHO. Our country is in the top three countries where harmful alcohol abuse is the least common. Also has 1.5 percent of the Dutch people with a drinking problem, compared to an average European rate of 8.8 percent. But that does not mean that there is a group of people who run into problems due to alcohol abuse.

The advice of the Health council is to not to drink or not more than a glass per day to drink. Especially the excessive use must be reduced, says Monshouwer. “The more you drink, the greater the risk of damage. That is also the message we are conveying. But ultimately it is up to everyone themselves to make the choice.”

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