Introduction and Aims. Survey data remain a crucial means for monitoring alcohol consumption, but there has been limited
work done to ensure that surveys adequately capture changes in per-capita consumption in Australia. In this study, we explore
how trends in consumption from two major Australian surveys compare with an official measure of per-capita consumption between
2001 and 2014 and examine age-specific trends in drinking.
Design and Methods. Data were from five waves of the crosssectional
National Health Survey (total n = 113 279) and 12 waves of the longitudinal Household Income and Labour Dynamics
in Australia Study (average n = 12 347). Overall and age-specific estimates of annual alcohol consumption were derived and
compared with official per-capita consumption and previous analyses of the National Drug Strategy Household Survey.
In terms of overall consumption, both surveys broadly reflected trends in per-capita consumption, especially the decline that has been
observed since 2007/2008. Age-specific trends were broadly similar, with the recent decline in consumption clearly concentrated
among teenagers and young adults.
Discussion and Conclusions. The main Australian monitoring surveys remain useful
monitoring tools for alcohol consumption in Australia. There is consistent evidence that the recent declines in Australian per-capita
consumption have been driven by sharp falls in drinking among young people, a trend that requires further study.
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