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HEALTH

German teenagers drinking less alcohol: Study

A study into the drinking habits of young people has revealed a continued decrease in regular alcohol consumption among German teenagers.

German teenagers drinking less alcohol: Study
Drinking has declined among teenagers in Germany. Image: DPA

But it also showed binge drinking was on the rise among young adults.

The research was carried out to get an idea of younger people’s drinking habits, both in terms of how often they drink – and how much. 

SEE ALSO: Germany should take drinking tips from Scotland, experts insist

Under one in ten (8.7 percent) Germans aged between 12 and 17 drank alcohol at least once a week. 

This is a significant decline from previous reports. A study conducted on the same age group in 2004 showed that one in five (21.2 percent) drank at least once per week. 

The findings indicate that public awareness campaigns about the dangers of alcohol may be paying off, while they also highlight a tendency among younger generations to be more health conscious than their forebears. 

Binge drinking needs to be tackled

The news was less good for Germans aged between 18 and 25 however, with more than a third (37.8 percent) drinking ‘to intoxication’ at least once in the past month before the survey was taken. 

Marlene Mortler of the centre-right CSU, who is the Federal Government’s Drug Commissioner, told DPA that the findings were welcome, while also indicating that more needed to be done to tackle binge drinking. 

“Reaching adulthood shouldn’t mean that all of the sudden it’s alright to drink too much alcohol”, she said. 

Mortler said education campaigns focusing on a “conscious approach to life” could be used to tackle the issue. 

The study, completed by the Federal Centre for Health Education, was conducted on 7,000 young Germans throughout 2018. 

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COVID-19

Public Health Agency recommends two Covid doses next year for elderly

Sweden's Public Health Agency is recommending that those above the age of 80 should receive two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine a year, once in the spring and once in the autumn, as it shifts towards a longer-term strategy for the virus.

Public Health Agency recommends two Covid doses next year for elderly

In a new recommendation, the agency said that those living in elderly care centres, and those above the age of 80 should from March 1st receive two vaccinations a year, with a six month gap between doses. 

“Elderly people develop a somewhat worse immune defence after vaccination and immunity wanes faster than among young and healthy people,” the agency said. “That means that elderly people have a greater need of booster doses than younger ones. The Swedish Public Health Agency considers, based on the current knowledge, that it will be important even going into the future to have booster doses for the elderly and people in risk groups.” 

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People between the ages of 65 and 79 years old and young people with risk factors, such as obesity, diabetes, poor kidney function or high blood pressure, are recommended to take one additional dose per year.

The new vaccination recommendation, which will start to apply from March 1st next year, is only for 2023, Johanna Rubin, the investigator in the agency’s vaccination programme unit, explained. 

She said too much was still unclear about how long protection from vaccination lasted to institute a permanent programme.

“This recommendation applies to 2023. There is not really an abundance of data on how long protection lasts after a booster dose, of course, but this is what we can say for now,” she told the TT newswire. 

It was likely, however, that elderly people would end up being given an annual dose to protect them from any new variants, as has long been the case with influenza.

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