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‘Women & Wine o’clock’ northern beaches culture strong

A survey has revealed that fifty six percent of women aged between 35-59 years living on the Northern Beaches believe there is problematic drinking among women in their age group in the area.

In fact, 97 per cent of women surveyed drank alcohol, with sixty eight percent being either a moderate-risk or high-risk drinker. Most reported using alcohol for enjoyment, socialisation and to cope with stress from the complexities and pressures of life.

The Women & Alcohol Survey was conducted by Northern Sydney Local Health District (NSLHD) earlier this year and delved into the experience and feedback from 583 local women.

The alcohol issue first came to the attention of researchers when local data showed that NSLHD had the highest number and rate of alcohol attributable hospitalisations in NSW between 2017-18.

Moreover, women aged 35-54 years were over-represented in these figures and specifically women on the Northern Beaches were 40 per cent above the NSW rate.

Health Promotion Officer, Rebecca Macnaughton said: "While hospitalisation data is thought to be inflated by the number of private hospitals in Northern Sydney, our women are increasingly exceeding the NHMRC Australian Risk Drinking Guidelines and are accessing local drug & alcohol services in increasing numbers.

"All of these data sources point to an increasing level of alcohol related harm among Northern Beaches women.

All of these data sources point to an increasing level of alcohol related harm among Northern Beaches women.
Rebecca Macnaughton, Health Promotion Officer

"We spoke with local women via focus groups in 2019 to explore the issue and get a clearer picture of the main concerns before undertaking the survey."

The survey found women predominately drank alcohol in social situations with 61 per cent drinking in the home environment. In addition, eighty one percent of women reported all gatherings they attended had alcohol present.

"Even more concerning was that 60 per cent of women said all child-orientated gatherings they attend had alcohol available," she said.

Despite alcohol playing a large role in women’s lives, nearly forty per cent of moderate drinkers and almost sixty per cent of high-risk drinkers have a desire to reduce their consumption of alcohol.

This desire to reduce drinking is good news for our Health Promotion team which is now investigating strategies to help address the ‘women and wine o’clock’ culture on the Northern Beaches.

In the meantime we encourage women, or anyone wishing to reduce their drinking to speak with a health professional or directly contact the Get Healthy Information & Coaching Service.

This government service will provide them with a free health coach who can help guide them (without judgement) through reducing their alcohol consumption. Simply call 1300 806 258 or visit

For more information on the survey, visit

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