Page last updated: April 18, 2011
German underage drinking cut by half in last 30 years

The results of a study presented in Berlin show that German youths are drinking less. According to a federal study, over the past 30 years, alcohol consumption among German teens has dropped by half. Although officials view the results as largely positive, concern remains about youth binge drinking.
The Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) said around 13% of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 consumed some form of alcohol at least once per week, compared to 21% in 2004 and 25% in 1979. Young adults between the age of 18 and 25 also showed reductions in alcohol consumption, with 35% drinking once per week compared to 67% in 1973.
However the report highlights that of the 7,000 teens and young adults surveyed, 8% of males said they reached intoxication - defined as consuming five or more drinks during one occasion - at least once per month. Those numbers remained stagnant compared with 2009.
Elisabeth Pott, BZgA director, stated that young adults in German were ill-informed of the consequences of binge drinking and that teenagers connected alcohol merely with ‘partying and having fun’ and were less aware of the ‘serious health effects.’
Asked as to their motivation for drinking, over half of the 12 to 17 group said alcohol made it “easier to approach others.” Just under 20% of those asked said they could “forget their problems” after drinking alcohol. The study also showed that peer pressure was a decisive factor in the drinking habits of young people: the more often one’s circle friends consumed alcohol the higher one’s one alcohol consumption proved to be.
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