Standard drink knowledge lacking in New Zealand

The latest study commissioned by Lion’s Alcohol & Me programme has identified that most Kiwis do not know what a standard drink is. Alcohol & Me aims to help Kiwis understand alcohol and how it affects the body and the mind. Alcohol & Me wants to encourage responsible decision making while drinking alcohol. In order to do this, education is critical.

The research process reached 800 Kiwis and found that most people couldn’t accurately say how many standard drinks are in the most common alcoholic beverages. Furthermore, three quarters were unfamiliar with the nation’s recommended healthy drinking guidelines.  Perhaps the more concerning figure is the 83% of people who couldn’t accurately describe the correct drink driving limit. A lot of respondents thought that there was a “number of drinks” that they could have before they were unsafe to drive, when in fact, there is no set number—a variety of factors impact whether you’re safe to get behind a wheel.

Jude Walter, from Alcohol & Me, said that it’s not about getting Kiwis away from the pub, it’s about making sure that they know what they are doing to their bodies and understanding the best way in which you can have fun and remain safe. “This survey highlights there is a real opportunity to educate Kiwis in a way that resonates. Put simply; an adult body can only process one standard drink an hour, regardless of your age, size, or how much you’ve eaten. There is no way to speed that up. So when you’re drinking a typical 5% bottle of beer or cider, it will take the body just over an hour to process the alcohol in that bottle. The standard drink information is printed on every label of alcohol sold in New Zealand, so if you have a drink in your hand, you have the key info you need right at your fingertips to make smart drinking choices.”

The study found that a quarter of people said that they will be drinking less in 2019 and a fifth are considering low alcohol products to help moderate their alcohol intake. The trends are heading towards lighter, and less alcoholic beverages, and bars and restaurants are becoming increasingly aware of the need to cater for this. Perhaps the results from Alcohol & Me are timely—educate Kiwis while there already talk about the changes in the alcohol industry.