The Statistics on Alcohol: England 2012 noted that the proportion of adults reported drinking more than six to eight units on at least one day was greatest among the 25-44 age group among men (25%) and women (20%). This is compared with 6% of men and 2% of women aged 65 and over.
On a positive note, the study found a long-term downward trend in the past 15 years in the proportion of adults who reported drinking in the week prior to interview.
In 1998, 75% of men and 59% of women drank in the week prior to interview compared to 68% and 54% respectively in 2010. Similarly, the proportion of adults drinking on five or more days in the previous week has also decreased. This was 24% of men in 1998, compared to 17% in 2010, the equivalent figures for women were 13% and 10% respectively.
However, the number of alcoholic drinks bought in the on-trade decreased by 44% since 2001. The report said that this reduction is mainly due to a 52% decrease in the volume of beer purchases over the same period.
Chris Sorek, chief executive of alcohol education charity Drinkaware, said: “It is encouraging to see a fall in average weekly alcohol consumption among young adults. Yet despite an overall decline in recent years, over one in five young men (22%) and one in five young women (17%) are still binge drinking.
“The figures confirm the worrying trend of Britain’s hidden binge drinkers (25-44 year olds) who drink more heavily and more regularly than young adults.
“While it is encouraging to see green shoots of behaviour change, much more must be done to help people make healthier choices about alcohol. Small changes such as reducing your glass size and choosing lower alcohol drinks can make the difference between enjoying alcohol responsibly and putting your health at risk.”
The news comes the same day that BMJ (British Medical Journal) notes that people should only be drinking just over half a unit (5g) a day, instead of Government recommendations of between three and four units (24-32g) a day for men, and two to three units (16-24g) for women. It said that this could save 4,600 lives a year in England.