By Eric Crampton 20/11/2017


The Press reports that the new NZ Health Survey data is up. Smoking rates are down; obesity’s up.

Here’s how they describe the drinking stats:

Meanwhile, 748,000 people, or 19.5 per cent of the adult population are considered “hazardous drinkers”, according to a World Health Organisation definition, which takes into account a combination of factors including binge drinking, dependency, and the impact alcohol has on people’s lives.

Another indicator headed in the wrong direction is one which measures mental health. This survey found that 7.6 per cent of people suffered from “psychological distress”, and a high or very high probability of anxiety or a depressive disorder.

You could be forgiven for thinking that meant the drinking stats were worsening. Here’s what the data says instead for adults aged 15+:

  • There are more abstainers. Past-year drinking has dropped by just under a percentage point, with drops for both men and women, and across almost all age groups. None of the single-year changes are significant, but the drop since 2006/7 is significant overall, for both genders, and for almost all age cohorts.
  • Hazardous drinking is down from last year, from 20.8% to 19.5% overall, with a percentage point drop for women and a point and a half drop for men. The drops are across just about every age cohort. Youth hazardous drinking (15-17 year olds) is down from 7.9% to 7.6%. Hazardous drinking among 18-24 year olds is down from 37.1% to 32.9%. Note on this measure though that we only have data from last year and this year because they changed the definition.

The stats are here.

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