2017 Alcohol Consumption in Halton Report

This report uses data from the Canadian Community Health Survey and the Halton Youth Survey to provide an overview of alcohol use in Halton Region, and to identify priority populations for risky drinking behaviours.

Background

The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of alcohol consumption patterns in Halton, and to identify populations that are more likely to engage in risky drinking behaviours. Risky drinking refers to consuming alcohol at levels that may put a person or others at risk for health or social problems.

Halton compares favourably to Ontario across many health indicators, such as physical activity, life expectancy and teen pregnancy (Health Indicator Summary Chart for Halton Region, 2016). However, alcohol consumption is one of the few health indicators where Halton rates are less favourable than the provincial average.

Alcohol consumption at any level can carry some degree of health risk. It is important to identify groups within the population who are drinking and at what level. With this information, we can inform public health programs and services, and influence policies that seek to reduce risky drinking behaviour.

Methods

Definitions

A drink refers to 341 ml (12 oz) of beer, cider or cooler; 142 ml (5 oz) of wine; or 43 ml (1.5 oz) of distilled alcohol such as rye, gin, or rum.

Heavy drinking refers to consuming five or more drinks for men, or four or more drinks for women on at least one occasion per month in the past 12 months.

Exceeding the low-risk alcohol drinking guidelines (LRADG) refers to drinking more than three drinks per day or 15 drinks per week for males, or two drinks per day or 10 drinks for females; and/or drinking more than four drinks for males or three drinks for females on any one occasion in the past year.

Data presented in this report are from two sources: the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) for data on adults aged 20 and over in Halton Region and Ontario (2009-2014), and the Halton Youth Survey (HYS) for data on grade 10 students in Halton Region (2013-2014). In order to identify priority populations for risky drinking, logistic regression models were created to determine what individual and socio-demographic characteristics were associated with higher odds of heavy drinking and exceeding the low-risk alcohol drinking guidelines (LRADG). Two additional priority populations (women who are pregnant or planning to be pregnant, and youth) were also identified as these groups are more likely to experience negative health effects as the result of alcohol consumption.

Key Findings

Halton verses Ontario:

  • Compared to Ontario residents, Halton residents were more likely to report exceeding the low-risk alcohol drinking guidelines and drink heavily.

Sex:

  • Halton males were more likely than females to report exceeding the LRADG or drinking heavily.

Age:

  • As age increased the odds of exceeding the LRADG or drinking heavily decreased

Marital status:

  • As age increased, the odds of exceeding the LRADG decreased; however, this decrease was most pronounced among single adults. The odds of drinking heavily were higher among divorced/separated/widowed adults compared to adults who were married or common-law.

Immigrant status:

  • The odds of both heavy drinking and exceeding the LRADG were higher among long-term immigrants and even higher among Canadian-born residents compared to recent immigrants

Income:

  • Halton adults in the high income group were more likely than those in the low income group to report exceeding the LRADG or drinking heavily.

Youth:

  • Approximately 1 in 3 grade 10 students in Halton reported an episode of binge drinking in the past year.

Pregnant or planning to be pregnant:

  • Three out of four women in Halton of reproductive age (15-49) are regular or occasional drinkers.