These NHS study findings were covered in The Independent in December with the headline finding that men drink twice as much as women. The image is a glimpse into my world as a nurse working in A&E with drunks! Hope I didn’t spoil your breakfast 😉
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.’
So my initial response to this was ‘and the rest!’ because if I was being questioned for an NHS study about my drinking I would under-report. I’d hazard a guess that people halved the real number so we’re looking at 1 in 10 in reality. What do you think?