Wealth 'linked to excessive drinking'

22 December 2015 09:48

The wealthy are likelier than lower earners to drink too much

The wealthy are likelier than lower earners to drink too much

The wealthy are far likelier than Britain's poorest people to be risking their health by drinking too much, a new survey suggests.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) says around one in four people - 27% of men and 23% of women - from the fifth of households in the highest income bracket are consuming more alcohol than they should.

In comparison, only 12% of women and 5% of men from the nation's lowest income households drink too much, the survey's results suggest.

Official NHS guidelines state that men should drink no more than 21 units of alcohol each week. Women, meanwhile, are advised to consume a maximum of 14 units every seven days.

Drinking too much alcohol is linked to various serious medical problems which can necessitate holidaymakers taking out a specialist medical travel insurance policy.

'One in 20 at high risk'

The HSCIC survey of 10,000 people indicates that nearly two-thirds of all adults - 62% of women and 63% of men - adhere to the NHS guidelines.

One in 20 men, though, are drinking at the highest levels of risk by downing more than 50 units of alcohol per week.

Some 4% of women, meanwhile, are similarly putting themselves at high risk by drinking over 35 units on a weekly basis.

Steering clear of alcohol altogether is also much more common among lower income households, according to the newly published Health Survey for England 2014.

Older Britons most likely to drink regularly

Among those in the wealthiest households - those with a family income of £44,000 or more - only 5% of men and 12% of women say they have not had a drink in the last 12 months.

But among people from households in the lowest income bracket - those earning £12,000 or less - 30% of women and 27% of men say they have been dry for the last year.

The survey suggests that older people are the most likely to be drinking too much.

Nearly one in three (30%) men aged between 65 and 74 admit to consuming over 21 units of alcohol each week.

More than one in five (22%) women aged between 55 and 64, meanwhile, say they exceed the 14 weekly units that the NHS recommends as a maximum.

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