Middle-class drinking ‘epidemic’ criticised

New statistics show rise in number of middle class drinkers and women drinking at home

New statistics show more than a third of adults in Britain drink over the recommended daily alcohol amount at least once a week.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics for 2007 reveal a growing trend  in the number of middle-class drinkers and women drinking at home. 60% of women opt to drink at home over ordering a bottle in a bar.

The numbers showed we tend to drink more as we age or get married and that men and women in management positions and professional roles are more likely to drink than those who carry out manual work.

The research showed that eight in ten men had drunk in the previous seven days and so had 68% of professional women.

Married people drank more than singletons, with 20% admitting to drinking five days a week or more, compared with 10% of single people.

The latest numbers also highlighted the current levels of binge drinking in the UK with one in five adults drinking at least double the suggested limit on the day of the week that they drink most.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley criticised the statistics: ‘These worrying figures show just how widespread binge drinking is becoming.’

Professor Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians, commented: ‘On the basis of these figures it appears unlikely that we will stem the rising tide of alcohol-related health harms in the near future.

He added: ‘While people’s awareness of the health risks associated with drinking above the recommended limits is surprisingly good, knowledge of those limits is still poor, despite ten years of concerted work to raise awareness levels.’

Public health minister, Dawn Primarolo, explained that the government continues to find new ways to address the drinking culture in Britain and a sustained programme to inform people about the harmful consequences of binge drinking.

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