'Half' exceed safe drinking levels

More than half of men and women who drink, consume more than the recommended amounts, figures suggest.

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Men aged 16 to 24, and women aged 16 to 34, are the most likely to exceed safe drinking levels, new figures show

More than half of men and women who drink, consume more than the recommended amounts, figures suggest.

Some 55% of men have more than three or four units a day, while 53% of women have more than two to three units a day.

Men aged 16 to 24, and women aged 16 to 34, are the most likely to exceed safe drinking levels.

The data was published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) and comes after other figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) yesterday showed over-65s were particularly high risk drinkers.

Today's data revealed that 67% of men surveyed had drunk alcohol in the last week, including 21% who drank more than twice the recommended amount - having more than eight units on at least one day in the previous week.

Some 53% of women had also drunk alcohol in the last week, including 13% who had drunk more than twice the safe amount (more than six units on at least one day).

The figures are drawn from the Health Survey for England, which surveyed more than 8,000 adults and 2,000 children.

Overall, the figures suggest there has been a gradual decline in drinking over recent years.

The majority of men who had drunk alcohol in the last week had drunk normal strength beer, cider or shandy (62%), a third had consumed wine (33%), and just over a fifth had drunk spirits (22%).

Meanwhile, the majority of women had drunk wine (64%), a quarter had drunk spirits (26%) and a fifth had drunk normal strength beer, cider or shandy (19%).

New figures on gambling also showed that 68% of men and 61% of women have gambled in the last year.

The National Lottery was the most popular gambling activity (56% of men and 49% of women), followed by scratch cards (19% of men and 20% of women), while 12% of men and 8% of women bet on horseracing.

HSCIC chair Kingsley Manning said: "Drinking among adults continues to show signs of gradual decline, but nevertheless the fact that one in five men and one in eight women reported drinking more than twice the recommended daily limit of alcohol in the week before the survey is of clear interest to policymakers and society in general."