By Age Group
Heavy drinking is commonly defined as consuming 5 or more alcoholic drinks on one occasion at least once per month in the past 12 months. Beginning in the 2013-2014 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), binge drinking for females is defined as consuming 4 or more drinks on one occasion. The definition for males remains the same. This change in definition may impact on the interpretation of trends over time.
Current drinkers who engage in episodes of heavy drinking are at higher risk of developing alcohol-related problems. These people may not drink frequently and may have a relatively low daily average consumption; however, they tend to drink excessively on some occasions.
Nearly 1,000 Simcoe Muskoka adults (19 years and older) were surveyed as part of the 2013 Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System (RRFSS). Among adults that reported heavy drinking episodes in the past year, nearly everyone surveyed said they engaged in heavy drinking at a home or cottage (either their own or a friends). Additionally, one-in-three said that they engaged in heavy drinking at a restaurant or bar in the past year.
According to the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) in 2013/2014, 22% (18.6%, 25.6%) of adults ages 19 years and older reported engaging in heavy drinking. Since 2003, the prevalence of heavy drinking in Simcoe Muskoka has been consistently above the provincial average; however, the prevalence of heavy drinking both locally and provincially has remained relatively stable over this time period.
In 2013-2014, significantly more adult (19+) males in Ontario (23%, (21.8%, 24.1%)) reported heavy drinking compared with 13% (12.0%, 13.6%) of adult females. The prevalence of heavy drinking among Simcoe Muskoka males (25% (20.8%, 30.1%)) was not significantly different than what was reported for females (19% (14.9%, 23.2%)). Heavy drinking prevalence among Simcoe Muskoka females was significantly higher when compared with Ontario females; however, heavy drinking among Simcoe Muskoka males was not significantly different from the provincial average.
By Age Group
The prevalence of heavy drinking also varies by age group. In 2013-2014, significantly more Simcoe Muskoka residents in the 19 to 44 year age group (29% (23.0%, 35.3%) drink heavily when compared with their older counterparts. Heavy drinking among older adults (45 years of age and older) was significantly higher in Simcoe Muskoka (17% (13.3%, 21.1%)) when compared with the province as a whole (12% (11.7%, 12.4%)). Heavy drinking among younger adults (19-44 years) was not significantly different in Simcoe Muskoka when compared with Ontario as a whole.
In 2013-2014 for both Simcoe Muskoka and Ontario adults (19+), heavy drinking is lowest among those in the bottom 40 per cent of household income when compared with those of higher income. Heavy drinking among those in the middle 20 per cent of household income was significantly higher in Simcoe Muskoka (27% (19.7%, 34.5%)) when compared with Ontario as a whole (18% (16.0%, 19.1%)). Heavy drinking for those in the bottom and top 40 per cent of household income in Simcoe Muskoka was similar to the comparable provincial averages.
Also in 2013-2014, significantly fewer Ontario adults (25 to 64 years of age) with a university degree or higher reported heavy drinking compared to those with lower levels of education. The same general pattern was apparent among the Simcoe Muskoka population; however, these differences were not statistically significant. Heavy drinking among those with a college diploma or certificate was significantly higher in Simcoe Muskoka was compared with the province as a whole.