GIOVENTU » Italy's young adopting binge drinking

Italy's young adopting binge drinking

Is Italian life style still to be praised?

The answer is “yes” for what concerns food but “no” for the alcohol consumption.

Overall, risk behaviours in alcohol consumption, that is excessive drinking on a single occasion, and alcohol consumption by youths aged 11 to 17 concern 8,265 million people of the overall population, that is 15.2%. 

Groups of the population most at risk are: the elderly (38% of males and 8.1% of females), the young adult population aged 18-24 (22% of males and 8.7% of females) and the adolescents aged 11-17 (21.5% of males and 17.3% of females).

14.5% of young adults (aged 18-24), 21% of males and 7.6% of females are at risk of binge drinking. Among young people in this age group who regularly go to discotheques, risk behaviour associated with alcohol consumption is more widespread (32.4%) compared with those who do not go to discotheques (7.6%). Similar differences are observed among those who regularly attend concerts or sporting events.

Parents’ drinking behaviour seems to influence children: 22.8% of youths (aged 11 to 17) who live in households where at least one parent has an excessive alcohol consumption are at risk. This rate decreases to 18.7% among youths who live in households where both parents do not have risky drinking behaviour.

Not only the amount of alcohol consumed has increased but also the drinking habit conforms to the British/American one, of drinking on an empty stomach instead of with meals. 

To curtail the increase of alcohol consumption the legal limit has been raised from age 16 to 18, but controls are few and it’s extremely easy to buy alcohol even for those under-age.

Alcohol consumption usually increases in the summer. Even though drinking outdoors is banned in popular nightlife areas, the prohibition is usually restricted to bottles and glasses, so bars get away with selling beer and cocktails in plastic containers.

Binge drinking is increasing among young people as a way to socialise and if it was a taboo before, it is now considered as a respectable way of having fun.

The broadcasting of live sports events in pubs and bars has been blamed for the boost in alcohol consumption. 

Giulia Lombardo

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