Vaimoana Tapaleao is the New Zealand Herald's Pacific Affairs and People reporter.

Drinkers in dark about real strength

A standard drink has 10g of alcohol, but can vary in size. Photo / APN
A standard drink has 10g of alcohol, but can vary in size. Photo / APN

Two out of three Kiwis do not know what a standard drink is and more than half don't know how much alcohol an average person can process in an hour, a study shows.

Results from a survey commissioned by consumer education programme Cheers! showed 67 per cent of those surveyed could not identify a standard drink - one that contains 10g of alcohol.

More than 60 per cent of people did not understand that it was the amount of alcohol an average person could process in an hour and 10 per cent admitted that they had never even heard of the term "standard drink".

A total of 1500 people aged between 16 to 65 were surveyed by Big Picture last November.

In response, Cheers! is launching the Standard Glass Campaign today by giving out marked glass sets to get people thinking about how much they're really drinking.

Programme director Jessica Venning-Bryan said the results were worrying, given the standard mark was carried on all alcohol packaging.

"If you don't know how your body processes alcohol, then you're not in the best position to make good choices that will keep you safe and social when you're drinking."

But public health Professor Dr Sally Casswell, of Massey University, said such initiatives were not the answer to binge drinking behaviours.

"In general we know from reliable evidence that education does not change individuals' drinking behaviour.

"To have campaigns focused on standard drinks which assume people make rational decisions about how much they drink would be ineffective."

Survey results also showed that participants aged 31 to 50 - parents of teenagers - demonstrated the worst overall knowledge of standard drinks, of all groups surveyed.

A total of 58 per cent correctly identified a standard drink of wine as a small glass of around 100ml. Eleven per cent of male drinkers aged 30 and under thought a standard drink was a measure to help consumers compare prices.

On the web

- NZ Herald

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