Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research

Trends in alcohol consumption among older adults in Denmark in the 21st century

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  • Heidi Amalie Rosendahl Jensen, University of Southern Denmark
  • ,
  • Kim Bloomfield
  • Cathrine Juel lau, Centre for Clinical Research and Prevention, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospitals, Hovedstaden, Denmark
  • Ola Ekholm, Univ Southern Denmark, University of Southern Denmark, Natl Inst Publ Hlth, Denmark
Previous studies have indicated that the alcohol consumption among older Danish individuals has increased during the last three decades of the 20th century. However, the research is limited and, hence, the aim of the present article is to describe the trends and peculiarities in the development of the present situation in older people’s drinking patterns in Denmark.

Data were obtained from the Danish Health and Morbidity Survey (2005) and the Danish National Health Survey (2010, 2013, and 2017). Data used in this study were collected via self-administered questionnaires from random samples of the adult (≥ 16 years) Danish population. Response rates varied between 50.8% (2005) and 59.5% (2010). Drinking patterns are described using the following indicators: alcohol consumption during the past 12 months; alcohol consumption at least two days a week; mean number of standard drinks consumed in a typical week and heavy episodic drinking (at least monthly). Results are presented as percentages or means.

The prevalence of overall 12-month alcohol use in all individuals aged 60 years or older has slightly increased between 2010 (83.9%) and 2017 (85.2%). On the other hand, the prevalence of consuming alcohol at least twice a week has overall decreased slightly between 2010 (54.0%) and 2017 (52.0%) in the same age group. A decrease was also observed in the mean number of standard drinks consumed in a typical week, from 8.3 in 2010 to 7.0 in 2017. Additionally, the prevalence of consuming at least five standard drinks on one occasion at least monthly decreased markedly from 24.8% in 2005 to 14.8% in 2013 (the prevalence remained stable between 2013 and 2017). The trends in prevalence of various alcohol indicators varied by sex and age.

The findings of this study suggest an overall decline in alcohol consumption among older Danes in the study period. The continuation of this trend will be the subject of future studies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Pages (from-to)481-490
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

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