NEARLY a quarter of UK medical students asked about alcohol consumption claimed to be teetotal in an average week.
An online survey sent to BMJ Student subscribers asking about health and lifestyle habits found that among the 823 respondents just over 10 per cent consumed more than the recommended maximum 14 units per week.
Drinking was found to be heavier in the early years at university but the survey also found that 23.8 per cent of medical students reported that on average they drank no units of alcohol each week. These findings correspond with data from the wider population compiled by the Office National Statistics which found that 21 per cent of 16-24 year olds drink no alcohol.
The proportion of young adults claiming to be teetotal has increased steadily over the last ten years, with a 40 per cent rise between 2005 and 2013.
The survey found that 7 per cent had taken a psychoactive substance during their time at medical school and around 20 per cent had taken other illegal drugs. Statistics for the wider population indicate that 18 per cent of the 16-24 year olds took illegal drugs last year.
The British Medical Association medical students committee welfare lead Twishaa Sheth commented, "Medical students tend to have a ‘work hard, party hard’ stereotype and it is important when studying for any degree to take time out to switch off and socialise.
"However, it is refreshing and reassuring to see that the majority of respondents are looking after themselves. Hopefully, this shows that wellbeing and welfare are coming to the forefront of students’ minds more and more, which is a step in the right direction."