Why well-off women are most likely to have a problem with alcohol: Richest fifth are three times more likely to drink every day than those on lower incomes
Well-off women three times as likely to drink than those on lower incomes
Research shows those living in the richest fifth of households are more prone to drinking nearly every day than any other group of women
Research indicates amount people drank also tends to increase with age
Source: Daily Mail
By Sophie Borland Health Correspondent for the Daily Mail and Kate Pickles For Mailonline
16 December 2015
Well-off women are three times as likely to drink almost every day compared with those on lower incomes, research revealed yesterday.
Whether it’s liquid lunches with friends or relaxing over a bottle of wine after work, experts warn they are putting their health at risk.
Research shows those living in the richest fifth of households are more prone to drinking nearly every day than any other group of women.
Almost one in six have alcohol five or more times a week – and more than half exceed their safe daily limit on at least one occasion.
By contrast, just one in 20 women in the poorest group drink on five or more days.
Experts blame a workplace culture that encourages drinking and the ingrained habit of unwinding over a bottle at home in the evening.
The figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show more than a quarter of all adults drink over the recommended amount of alcohol. This is 14 units a week for women and 21 for men.
But the Government is expected to overhaul this guidance in the New Year amid concerns it is unsafe and confusing.
Two-thirds of women in the top fifth earning households – with a combined income of at least £44,000 a year – drink at least once a week.
They include 16 per cent – nearly one in six – who admit to drinking on five or more occasions. More than half – 54 per cent – went over their safe daily limit of three units at least once a week.
The figures were far lower among women from the poorest households, with a combined income of £12,000 or less. Just 5 per cent drank on five or more days and 47 per cent went over their safe daily limit on one or more occasion.
The figures are from the HSCIC’s annual survey of 8,077 men and women from a range of incomes and age groups. Dr Niall Campbell, an expert in alcohol addiction at the Priory in South West London, said: ‘My concern is women are now treating wine like chocolate. It’s no longer an occasional treat but part of a daily habit.
‘It’s created an atmosphere whereby women who once enjoyed a glass of wine in an evening now finish a bottle and sometimes open another one.
‘The trouble is alcohol is also a huge part of many companies’ culture and women can easily hit alcohol limits by accepting a reasonable fraction of the offers to share a drink with their peers.’ Katherine Brown, director of the Institute of Alcohol Studies, added: ‘High-income groups tend to drink more wine at home, which is very affordable and heavily promoted in supermarkets, whereas lower income groups tend to drink more beer and spirits in pubs, which is less affordable and often served in smaller measures.
‘People on higher incomes are more likely to work in professions where client entertaining and heavier drinking cultures are more common.’
One unit is typically equivalent to half a glass of wine, a half pint of beer or a measure of spirits, but can vary considerably depending on the strength of the drink or size of the glass. And research shows most adults underestimate how many units they’ve had. Campaigners want the Government to introduce clearer guidelines spelling out how many units are in each drink.
Yesterday’s figures show men drink more than women – but their income makes less of a difference.
Among the highest earners, 20 per cent drink at least five times a week, compared with 13 per cent of those in the lowest income group.
Jackie Ballard, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, said: ‘It’s this regular drinking of a bit too much too often that stores up all sorts of health problems, mentally and physically.’
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Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3362284/The-shocking-extent-middle-class-drinking-revealed-High-earning-men-FIVE-times-likely-consume-harmful-levels-alcohol-week-lowest-income.html#ixzz3uZCiUUrr