Coronavirus (COVID-19) Lifestyle Most Read

Wed 24 February 2021:

COVID-19 lockdowns forced us all to stay in our homes without much entertainment. People are working where they live, social contacts are limited and the outcome of all of this is less than clear. How did people react to this – did they start drinking more? Scientists at the University of Glasgow didn’t find that to be the case.

There is this idea that without much to do people are staying at home drinking, binge watching TV shows and generally just melting into their couches. This might become a public health concern in the future, because of worse mental and physical health. Of course, there are things you could do – you should be exercising and calling your friends for video chats. But many resort to casual drinking. Or do they?


Scientists analysed data about alcohol consumption in Scotland, England & Wales during the period January 2017 to July 2020. This research period allowed scientists to see if we are drinking more or less during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Scientists paid attention to the off-trade (supermarkets and off-licences) and the on-trade (pubs, clubs and restaurants) alcohol sales and found that the pandemic regulations and changing lifestyles did have a tremendous impact on people’s drinking habits.

This study showed that people are buying alcohol in stores much more often – off-trade sales grew by 28-29 %. However, scientists note that overall a reduction in alcohol consumption can be observed, because increases in per adult off-trade sales do not entirely replace the loss of on-trade sales.

In other words, people cannot drink in pubs and bars, but they do not compensate for these habits at home. COVID-19 regulations resulted in a 6% reduction in the total volume of pure alcohol sold per adult in Scotland and in England & Wales.

Daniel Mackay, one of the authors of the study, said: “These results show that after taking into account underlying trends, seasonal patterns and factors such as household income and other drink types, alcohol sales in Scotland fell by 6% as a result of COVID lockdown restrictions.” Of course, scientists are going to continue monitoring the situation to see the long-term effects of lockdowns on people’s drinking habits.

It is not unlikely that people are going to increase their domestic alcohol consumption with time they spend locked in their homes.

As vaccines are rolling in it is easy to think that we’re almost through this pandemic. However, it is likely that we are going to suffer from it for many more months. It is important that we remain with our heads screwed on tight and don’t fall for overeating, laziness and drinking. This pandemic will end, but you don’t want to emerge from it unhealthy, overweight and with new addictions.

Source: University of Glasgow




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