Women’s increased alcohol consumption contributing to India’s growing love for alcohol
Already among the world’s highest consumer of alcohol, India’s love for alcohol is growing rapidly.Updated: Sep 04, 2019 13:05 IST
“More women are drinking and women are drinking more”, a new survey on alcohol consumption pattern among the fairer sex in Delhi has revealed.
Rising affluence, aspirations, societal pressure and exposure to a different lifestyle is driving women to experiment with alcohol, stated the survey, conducted by the Community Against Drunken Driving (CADD) among 5,000 women aged between 18 to 70 in Delhi.
Already among the world’s highest consumer of alcohol, India’s love for alcohol is growing rapidly.
According to a World Health Organization (WHO) study, between 2010 and 2017, alcohol consumption in India increased by 38 per cent. It increased to about 5.7 litres per adult per year in 2016 from 2.4 litres per adult per year in 2005, the CADD said.
“A steady and silent contributor to this growth has been the increased consumption of alcohol among women who were till recently considered the obvious abstainers,” it said in the survey aimed at assessing the current consumption, expenditure pattern, drinking habits and spaces and other factors that are impacting this phenomenon.
“More women are drinking and women are drinking more,” the survey said.
After traditionally being non drinkers for decades, the women’s alcohol market is expected to grow by 25 per cent over the next 5 years, it quotes the Indian government’s Centre for Alcohol Studies as saying.
‘Pinking’ of the alcohol market, combined with sustained messaging in movies and on TV that alcohol is the best way for women to relax and reward themselves, is all adding up to the rise, the CADD said.
In Delhi for instance, 40 per cent of men and 20 per cent of women (almost 15 lakh women) are alcohol consumers, the survey quotes a report by AIIMS as saying.
Among the reasons why women drink, the survey says “mostly all social activities are centred around alcohol, and alcohol is seen as a quick and easy social lubricant, and when everyone is doing the same thing, it does not seem like a problem. It is just the norm”.
“Driven by the market forces where cocktail and berry drinks are being promoted as feel good and relaxing drinks for women, women are enticed into drinking more with a promise of good time that awaits them,” it says.
The survey says alcohol is seen as a social lubricant by women.
“At times just to fit in or as a way to unwind, more spending capacity/affluence, another way of equal opportunity pursuit at work place/profession, alcohol as a coping mechanism to stress, depression, loneliness anxiety, pain, mental and physical traumas and to cope with the needs and pressures of fast paced life,” it says, listing more reasons why women drink.
It said that 43.7 per cent women in the age group of 18-30 years consumed alcohol out of habit or desire to do so, 41.7 per cent women in the age group of 31-45 years consumed alcohol due as an occupational requirement or because of social norm.
Over 53 per cent women above 60 years and 39.1 per cent women in 46–60 years had alcohol for emotional reasons, the survey said.
As per the WHO safe drinking limits for women, they should not consume more than 8-10 drinks per week and not more than two drinks per day and three drinks on special occasions. Besides, there should be no alcohol consumption during pregnancy or under the age of 18 years.
For women, consumption of four or more drinks in one occasion is considered as binge drinking.
In Delhi, 45.6 per cent women in the age group of 18-30 years agreed to having four or more drinks in one session while 44.9 per cent women agreed to having three to four drinks in one session in the age group of 31-45 years, the survey said.
Over 22 per cent women in the age group of 46-60 and 24.6 per cent women above 60 years of age agreed to having four or more drinks in one session, it said.
The survey concluded that binge drinking appeared to be very common among women between 18-30 years and 31-45 years.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)