In fact: frequency of alcohol consumption among year 10 students, 2012-14

In 2014-15, more than half (57%) of all 15 to 17-year-olds

consumed alcohol in the past year (Ministry of Health, 2015). Alcohol consumption in people under the age of 18 years is associated with an increased risk of accidents, injuries, and risky and anti-social behaviours, compared with older drinkers (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2009). The Health Promotion Agency’s (HPA’s) current advice to parents and caregivers of young people under age 18 is that not drinking alcohol is the safest option (Health Promotion Agency, 2014).

HPA’s Youth Insights Survey (YIS) monitors Year 10 students’ behaviours, attitudes, and knowledge on a range of health-related topics, including alcohol consumption. Year 10 students are predominantly aged between 14 and 15 years.

This fact sheet reports on the frequency of past month alcohol consumption and heavy alcohol consumption and changes in these from 2012 for Year 10 respondents in the YIS.

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Commissioning agencies
Date of last publication
28 Jun 2016


Respondents in the 2014 YIS were asked how often they had a) consumed alcohol in the past month and b) consumed five or more alcohol drinks in one session. Responses were examined by gender and ethnicity (Māori, compared with non-Māori).

These questions were also asked in the 2012 YIS. Further analyses were therefore undertaken to assess any change over time. Results are reported as proportions. Only statistically significant differences (p < .05) between groups are reported here. Further methodological detail can be found in the ‘About the Youth Insights Survey’ section of this fact sheet.

Key Results

  • In 2014, one-third (34%) of Year 10 students reported consuming alcohol during the past month. Two in ten (22%) reported ever consuming five or more alcohol drinks in one session.
  • The proportion of Year 10 students reporting past-month alcohol consumption and ever having consumed five or more alcohol drinks in one session dropped significantly in 2014, compared with 2012. However, among those who had ever consumed five or more alcohol drinks in one session, the proportion that had done so in the past month was unchanged in 2014 compared with 2012.
  • Although the proportion of Māori and non-Māori who had consumed alcohol during the past month and ever consumed five or more alcohol drinks in one session decreased at a similar rate between 2012 and 2014, Māori remain more likely than non-Māori to report having done each.

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