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Trends in older people's drinking habits, Sweden 2004-2017

journal contribution
posted on 03.12.2020, 23:30 by Jonas RaninenJonas Raninen, Neda Agahi
© The Author(s) 2020. Aims: To examine if and how the drinking habits of older people aged 60–79 years in Sweden have changed during 2004–2017, with a specific focus on age groups and gender. Data and measures: A Swedish, nationally representative, repeated cross-sectional telephone survey covering the years 2004–2017 (n = 225,134) was used. Four aspects of alcohol consumption were investigated: proportion of alcohol consumers, frequency of drinking, amount per drinking occasion, and prevalence of heavy episodic drinking. Results: Three of the four measures investigated showed increases in alcohol consumption in the older age groups, particularly among women. Proportion of alcohol consumers, frequency of drinking and prevalence of heavy episodic drinking during the past month increased in most older age groups among both women and men, while the average amount per drinking occasion remained stable. Thus, total consumption in older age groups has increased over time, since the proportion of drinkers and the frequency of drinking has increased. Increases were particularly marked among women and in the age groups 70–74 and 75–79 years. In age groups below 60 years, these measures showed either declines or stability. Conclusions: There has been a steady increase in alcohol consumption across all the older age groups studied, which implies that the changing drinking habits are not isolated only to certain birth cohorts. Instead there seems to be a continuous shift in older people’s drinking habits which can be expected to continue. However, these increases are from very low levels, and older people’s drinking is still at modest levels. Public health implications must be studied further.


The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: JR was funded by the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (FORTE) grant 2016-00884. NA was funded by Systembolagets Research Council on Alcohol (SRA) grant 2018-0074. The funders played no role in the study design, analysis or interpretation or in the decision to submit the paper for publication.


Publication Date



Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs






11p. (p. 459-469)





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