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Tuesday, 11 December, 2001, 16:22 GMT
Female binge drinking confirmed
Woman drinking beer
Women are drinking more often
A major nationwide survey has confirmed that women are drinking more often and more heavily than ever before.

The results come just 24 hours after the chief medical officer for England warned that women were putting their lives at risk by drinking too much.

The General Household Survey, carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), found that the number of women who 'binge' drink has increased by a quarter since 1998.

It also shows that the proportion of younger women who drink heavily throughout the week has increased from one in four two years ago to one in three today.

Main findings
One in 10 women binge drink each week
One in three young women drink more than they should
Average alcohol intake among men has increased slightly
More young people are stopping smoking
Demand for NHS services remains largely the same
The ONS survey of more than 19,000 people across Britain, entitled Living in Britain 2000, found that 10% of women had admitted to drinking more than six units of alcohol on at least one day in the week before they were questioned - twice the recommended intake. This compares with 8% in 1998.

One in three of those aged between 16 and 24 said they had consumed more than 14 units of alcohol - the weekly-recommended level for women - during the previous seven days.

Young women now consume 12.6 units of alcohol a week, equivalent to about a litre of wine. This compares with older women who drink 7.1 units a week.

In comparison, men appear to be drinking the same amount of alcohol as they did in 1998 with average intake rising from 17.1 units to 17.4 units.

Kicking the habit

The survey, carried out last year, also shows that the number of people smoking has remained largely the same at 27%.

However, more young people are kicking the habit. Just over one third of those aged between 20 and 24 smoke compared with 40% two years ago.

Overall, more men continue to smoke than women although the gap is narrowing - 29% compared with 23%.

The survey also looked at how people use NHS services. It shows that demand for GP and hospital services has remained largely the same as it was in 1998.

See also:

10 Dec 01 | Health
Death warning to young drinkers
08 Mar 00 | Health
Why alcohol acts faster on women
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