Men in England drink twice as much alcohol as women, NHS study reveals

The survey also revealed 27% of men and 23% of women from the wealthiest households drink more than officially advised

Matt Payton
Thursday 17 December 2015 12:54
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A new NHS study has found that age, gender and wealth are key factors to understand how much alcohol we drink.

It was found that one in 20 men in England drink more than 50 units of alcohol units each week – that is the equivalent of six bottles of wine or 25 pints of beer.

Men have been found to drink twice as much alcohol as their female peers with the average Englishman drinking 16.8 units a week compared to the average woman drinking 8.8 units.

The annual health report discovered that people with the fifth highest household incomes (earnings of £44,000 or more) are significantly more likely to drink over the recommended weekly amount than those who live in the lowest fifth (earnings of £12,000 or less).

27% of men and 23% of women from the wealthiest households drink more than is advised compared to 5% of men and 12% women from the poorest homes.

The NHS currently advises men to drink 21 units or less a week which is equivalent to 10.5 pints of beer.

Women are encouraged to intake 14 units or less which is the same as one and a half bottles of wine.

The report questioned 10,000 adults and children about their drinking habits, finding that older generations are more likely to drink heavily than their younger relations.

The highest drinking age group of men was 65 to 74 of whom 30% would drink more than 21 units a week.

For women, the heaviest drinking age bracket was 55 to 64 where 22% would drink more than 14 units a week.

Elizabeth Fuller from NatCen Social Research who worked on the study said: ‘Today’s findings are reassuring – the majority of adults in England drink at levels that are at low risk of alcohol-related harm, and the proportion of men and women engaging in binge drinking has fallen since 2006.

‘However, there is a sizeable minority of adults who habitually drink above the lower risk levels.

‘This is especially the case for middle-aged men and women and adults in higher income households, who are thus putting themselves at risk of a number of alcohol-related health conditions including several cancers, cirrhosis of the liver, high blood pressure and depression.’

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