Page last updated: Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Motivations for young people in US
The Century Council, commissioned a national survey of 18 to 24 year olds which included college students and non-students to investigate the impacts of college attendance and an active and healthy lifestyle, including involvement in sports, on underage drinking behaviours.

Non-students report they started drinking at 15.9 years of age, nearly a year prior to college students who report they started drinking at 16.7 years old.

Among young adults who have had alcohol in the past year, non-students report drinking 5 days in the past month compared to college students who drank 4 days in the past month. College students who drink report consuming alcoholic beverages on an average of 34 days in the past year compared to 48 days for their drinking non-student peers.

Binge drinking, defined as consuming 5 drinks (or 4 drinks for females) in a two hour period, is higher among non-students compared to college students. Among young adults who have consumed alcohol in the past 30 days, non-students report binge drinking on 3 occasions in the past month versus 2 occasions among college students.

Alcohol consumption varies most between students and non-students and between men and women. Among young adults who drink, males consume on average more than their female peers – in the past month men reported drinking 6 days compared to the women’s 4 days and drank on average 50 days in the past year compared to women who reported drinking 36 days in the past year.

56% of all of the young adults surveyed exercise or participate in a casual sport at least once a week or more. 71% of these adults agree that sports and exercise are part of a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, college students are more likely to be physically active than non-students (64% versus 51%).

These research findings are part of a two-phase research study among America’s young adults conducted on behalf of The Century Council. The first phase of this study explores alcohol consumption and healthy lifestyles among college students and non-students. The second phase of the research conducted in partnership with the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF), will focus more in-depth on the alcohol consumption of sport-involved women and men exploring the difference between “jocks” and “athletes” as it relates to their lifestyles, health risk behaviours, and patterns of alcohol consumption.

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All text and images © 2003 Alcohol In Moderation.