Monday, August 10, 1998 Published at 07:44 GMT 08:44 UK
Women hit the bottle
Women in their late 20s and early 30s: most at risk of developing serious problems
One in 50 women in the UK drinks the equivalent of six bottles of wine a week, research has revealed.
And one in eight women drinks more than the recommended weekly alcohol limit.
Consumption guidelines state that women should drink no more than about two units a day.
One unit is equivalent to one glass of wine.
But figures to be released in BBC's Watchdog Healthcheck on Monday show that more than three million women drink more.
Women under 35 with high incomes are drinking more than ever before.
Women in their mid 20s to early 30s are now the most at risk of developing a serious alcohol problem.
It is estimated that it takes just two years for women to develop a drink-related illness, compared with 10 years for men.
Dr Sarah Jarvis, of the advisory board of Alcohol Concern, said: "There is a good physical reason why women can't drink as much as men.
"They have more body fat and less body water.
"Since alcohol is only distributed in the body water, that means that any alcohol they drink is more concentrated and therefore can do them more harm."
"They're tending to put off having babies until their early to mid thirties.
"And while they're single and professional, fighting to keep up with male colleagues, they may well be trying to keep up with them in the drinking stakes as well as in the workplace.
"This makes them much more likely to be drinking more than they should.
"And by the time they come to have babies, their whole drinking lifestyle may well have affected their fertility," she warned.