British drinking habits revealed

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Drinking culture, Alcoholism, Government

Men ignoring health risks of excessive alcohol intake, says reportMore people are drinking more alcohol, more often, than ever before and men in...

Men ignoring health risks of excessive alcohol intake, says report

More people are drinking more alcohol, more often, than ever before and men in particular are risking their health because of their binge-drinking habits according to a new survey.

The survey, which was carried out by the Office for National Statistics, discovered that 20 per cent of men had drunk more than eight units of alcohol on at least one day in the previous week.

Women were found to be less likely than men to have drunk heavily with only eight per cent admitting to having drunk more than six units on at least one day the week before the survey.

The Government's recommended limits for alcohol consumption are three to four units a day for men and two to three units a day for women.

According to the survey, men drink an average of 15.5 units every week and women a much lower 7.9 units - putting the weekly consumption well within the Government's limits.

But recent research has shown that binge-drinking - drinking heavily on one or two nights a week and very little throughout the rest of the week - is a greater health risk than continuous, moderate drinking.

A spokesman for Alcohol Concern said the figures showed people were ignoring the dangers of binge drinking.

"If they carry on like this they risk suffering from some very serious health problems. Binge drinking also increases the risks of anti-social and unsafe behaviour such as fighting and driving while over the limit," he said.

The figures also showed that fewer people had drunk alcohol in the previous week than in 1997 and 1998.Eighty per cent of people said they were aware of alcohol units compared to 75 per cent in 1998.

The proportion of men keeping a daily check on what they drank is also higher than in 1998 and the number of respondents who had heard of the daily limits increased from 54 per cent in 1997 to 64 per cent in 2000.

The most popular place to buy alcohol was found to be the supermarket, with 72 per cent of drinkers saying they shopped there. Pubs came a close second, however, with 70 per cent choosing to buy their alcohol there.

But a majority of people said they preferred to regularly drink at home.

Men are more sociable animals, with just over half (55 per cent) choosing to drink with their friends and 42 per cent with a spouse or partner. Oddly, 49 per cent of women said they drank with their spouse, and 42 per cent with friends.

The survey questioned 3,450 people about their drinking habits.

Findings:

Percentages of men drinking more than eight units and women drinking more than six units on at least one day the previous week, by age

Men

Women

Age: 16-24

39%

25%

Age: 25-44

27%

11%

Age: 45-64

16%

4%

Age: 65+

5%

0%

Related topics: Legislation

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