Statistics show drop in number of UK binge-drinkers

22 January, 2008

The UK is experiencing a fall in the number of people who binge-drink, according to figures released by the government.

Data from the General Household Survey shows that the number of men drinking more than the recommended 21 units a week dropped to 23 per cent in 2006 compared to 29 per cent in 2000.

Women drinking at harmful levels dropped by 5 per cent - from 17 to 12 per cent - during the same period.

Interestingly, the figures have fallen, even with new methodology being applied to calculate alcohol consumption.

Last month the Office of National Statistics said it was recalculating its findings from the 2006 survey to reflect the trend towards larger measures and stronger alcoholic drinks.

David Poley, Portman Group chief executive, said the figures suggested the sensible drinking message was getting through.

“More people are now aware of the risks associated with harmful drinking and have changed their drinking accordingly,” he said.

Other results published by the ONS today have also proved that the drinks industry’s efforts to put unit labelling on drinks was being noticed by consumers.

The survey, Drinking: adults’ behaviour and knowledge in 2007 indicates that there has been a 6 per cent rise in the number of people noticing unit labelling on alcohol in the past year with 81 per cent of them seeing that information in shops in the first instance.

Poley said: “Awareness of alcohol units continues to rise because of drinks producers’ commitment to promoting responsible drinking.

“All Portman Group member companies are unit labelling their drinks. They included responsible drinking messages on 3 billion drinks containers and on £150 million worth of advertising in the last year alone.

“This combined with their financial backing for the Drinkaware Trust’s sensible drinking campaigning is making a difference to our drinking culture.”

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