Heavy drinking by both sexes is a cause for concern

March 21, 2002

Heavy drinking is common and a cause for concern in both young men and young women, according to a letter in this week's BMJ.

Researchers at King's College London surveyed 12,361 men and 20,534 women aged 20-80 about their alcohol consumption.

They found no evidence of different trends developing in the drinking careers of women and men, as reported in a previous study. In fact, they show that a consistently greater percentage of men than women drink at high risk levels.

They also found that 88-90% of alcohol consumed by the 20-29 age group was consumed non-sensibly (men more than 4 units a day, women more than 3 units a day) and 40-48% was consumed heavily (men more than 8 units a day, women more than 6 units a day).

It is vital that risky drinking by both men and women should be addressed in young adults, say the authors. Tackling risky drinking behaviour in young people should be a key feature of the long overdue alcohol strategy, they conclude.


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