Men drink twice as much alcohol as women

Men are drinking twice as much alcohol as women according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics – 18.7 units a week, on average, compared with 9.0 units.

A report on smoking and drinking among adults, which uses data from the 2006 General Household Survey (GHS), found that men were more likely than women to have drunk alcohol on at least one day in the previous week: 71 per cent of men and 56 per cent of women had done so. Men also drank on more days of the week than women. More than one in five men (21 per cent) compared with just over one in ten women (11 per cent) had drunk on at least five of the previous seven days.

Further key findings on drinking from the Smoking and drinking among adults 2006 report include:

? Alcohol consumption in 2006 was higher in England and in Wales than in Scotland: 13.7 and 13.5 units a week, on average, respectively, compared with 11.6 units.

? Men and women in households classified as ?routine and manual’ drank less (11.6 units a week), on average, than those in other types of household. Those in ?managerial and professional’ households drank the most (15.1 units a week).

Methods for calculating alcohol consumption have been updated to reflect the trend towards larger measures and stronger alcoholic drinks, especially wine. It should be noted, however, that changing the way in which alcohol consumption estimates are derived does not in itself reflect a real change in drinking among the adult population.

The ONS Omnibus survey, Drinking: adults’ behaviour and knowledge in 2007, also published today, shows that 85 per cent of adults had heard of measuring alcohol consumption in units in 2007, compared with 79 per cent ten years earlier.

Furthermore, 38 per cent of those who had heard of units, reported having seen unit labelling on alcohol, up from 32 per cent a year ago and 23 per cent in 2000. The most frequently mentioned place where unit labelling had been seen was a supermarket or shop (81 per cent).

The Omnibus survey also reports on pub-goers’ response to the bans on smoking in public places, introduced in Scotland in 2006 and in Wales and England in 2007.

About four-fifths of drinkers who said they visited pubs said that the change would not affect, or had not affected how often they did so. Of those who said their behaviour was likely to change, 15 per cent said they were likely to go more often, compared with six per cent who said they would go less often.

While 33 per cent of men and 22 per cent of women drank in a pub or bar in the previous week, 50 per cent of men and 52 per cent of women had drunk an alcoholic drink in their own home. Among those who had drunk alcohol in the previous week, the most common drinking companions for men and women were spouse or partner (41 per cent and 40 per cent respectively) and friends (45 per cent of male drinkers and 38 per cent of female drinkers).

Source: National Statistics, UK

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