The amount of alcohol consumed every week by young people has almost doubled in five years and is leaving teenagers at risk of significant health problems in later life, experts said yesterday.
The average weekly alcohol consumption of 11- to 13-year-olds rose by nearly 100 per cent between 2001 and 2006, from 5.6 units to 10.1 units of alcohol, a survey by the British Liver Trust found. A unit is typically half a pint of beer, a small glass of wine or a measure of spirits.
One in five children aged 11 to 15 admitted to being drunk at least once during the four weeks of the study, while about a third of those said they had deliberately tried to get drunk.
Alison Rogers, the trust's chief executive, said: "The habit of heavy drinking is leading to a frighteningly short road to liver clinics and transplant units.
"Three children under 18 have been diagnosed with alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver in the past six years. We desperately need to educate young people about the harm alcohol does."