Daily Archives: 17/05/2016

Adult drinking habits in Great Britain

ONS 2014This is the Office for National Statistics report for 2014 looking at the adult drinking habits in Great Britain.  It makes for interesting reading and you can find the whole report here.

Here’s the main findings:

  • 28.9 million people report that they had drunk alcohol in the week before interview.
  • 2.5 million people drink more than 14 units of alcohol on their heaviest drinking day.
  • Almost 1 in 5 higher earners drink alcohol on at least 5 days a week.
  • Young people are less likely to have consumed alcohol in the last week than those who are older.
  • A higher percentage of drinkers in Wales and Scotland drink over the recommended weekly amount in one day.
  • Wine is the most popular choice of alcohol.

In Great Britain in 2014, there were 28.9 million people who reported that they drank alcohol in the week before being interviewed for the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey. This equates to 58% of the population.

Focusing on those who drank alcohol, 12.9 million (45%) drank more than 4.67 units (around 2 pints of 4% beer or 2 medium (175 millilitre) glasses of 13% wine) on their heaviest drinking day. This is a third of the recommended weekly limit – the value you would drink if you drank 14 units spread evenly over 3 days. Of these, 2.5 million (9%) drank more units in one day than the weekly recommended amount of 14 units (6 pints of beer or 1.4 bottles of 13% wine).

Young people were less likely to have consumed alcohol; less than half (48%) of those aged 16 to 24 reported drinking alcohol in the previous week, compared with 66% of those aged 45 to 64.

While overall being less likely to drink alcohol, young drinkers were more likely than any other age group to consume more than the weekly recommended limit in one day. Among 16 to 24 year old drinkers, 17% consumed more than 14 units compared with 2% of those aged 65 and over.

I was really struck by some of the graphics as they paint such a clear picture – so for example this one about earnings and alcohol consumption:

income and drinkingFocusing on frequent drinkers, those who drink on at least 5 days of the week, individuals with an annual income of £40,000 and over were more than twice as likely (18%) to be frequent drinkers compared with those with an annual income less than £10,000 (8%).

It presents a fascinating insight into teetotalism, drinking in the week before interview, frequent drinking and units drunk, including changes in drinking patterns in recent years.

And these were all the news stories that followed:

2.5m Brits bust weekly alcohol limit in a day

Around 2.5 million people in Great Britain – 9% of drinkers – consume more than the new weekly recommended limit for alcohol in a single day, latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show. The 2014 data predates the new limit of 14 units of alcohol per week for men which began in January 2015 | BBC, UK

Younger people drink less but binge when they do, figures show

ONS study reveals picture of UK’s drinking habits and shows higher earners drink at least five days a week | Guardian, UK

Wales tops alcohol binge drinking stats in ONS survey

People in Wales are more likely to be binge drinkers than anywhere else in Britain, new figures have revealed | BBC, UK

I’m sick of explaining why I am teetotal

The UK is slowly drying out but as a teetotaler, I can tell you our attitudes toward drink aren’t changing anytime soon | Independent Voices, UK

The party’s over for young people, debt laden and risk averse

The drinks industry seeks to solve the conundrum of the monastic twentysomething by “premiumisation” (getting them to spend more on the few drinks they will buy). We have to understand it as a challenge broader than the market | Guardian, UK

Any thoughts from you?