How much do you drink? As you might expect, that probably depends a lot on a person’s age and life circumstances. But the differences may be more dramatic than you might think.
In our 2008 Arizona Health Survey, SLHI researchers found that how much a person drinks is clearly influenced by their life circumstances. The researchers divided and then redivided the population into segments of the population based on their insurance coverage, relationship status, level of education, gender, and age.
This chart shows the average (mean) number of alcoholic drinks that members of each group consume when drinking.
The average number of drinks consumed at one time among all adults in Arizona is 2.4 (the top line) but there is quite a bit of difference among groups. You can see that people tend to consume more drinks when they are younger, less when they are married, and more when they are separated.
Men tend to consume nearly double the number of drinks as women, but previous research suggests that the variation can be at least partly accounted for by differences in weight and height, which affect the amount of alcohol one drinks.
The bottom of the graph also shows the differences between people with no health insurance and different types of health insurance. People on AHCCCS and people without health coverage on average consume more alcohol when drinking.
These results give us just one peek into the average behaviors of people at different stages of their life. Future posts will focus on these categories – age, relationship status, education and insurance – and their smoking and drinking behaviors. Some of the results may surprise you.