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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 April, 2005, 23:10 GMT 00:10 UK
Young women's drinking 'to surge'
Image of a girl drinking
Female drinking has been rising since the 1990s
The amount of alcohol young women drink is set to surge over the next five years, research suggests.

Market analyst Datamonitor looked at consumer surveys in Europe and found UK women aged 18 to 24 drank the most.

It predicts they will be drinking 291 litres a year by 2009 - the equivalent of about three large glasses of wine a day - up from 216 litres in 2004.

It would mean alcohol consumption among young women had doubled in a decade and they would be drinking more than men.

Previous studies have shown the rate of female drinking is increasing more quickly than men with female teenagers already outstripping boys.

216 litres - UK
200 litres - Germany
106 litres - Netherlands

Datamonitor used information from consumer surveys across Europe to work out how much people were drinking.

It then looked at historical trends and expected lifestyle changes to work out how much women would be consuming in 2009.

The UK came top out of seven western European countries - France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden.

Germany had the second highest rates with women drinking 200 litres a year.

Disposable income

Italian women drank the least - 66 litres. The average was 135.

Report author Danielle Rebelo said: "Young women are having more independence than previously, higher levels of disposable income and there is a growing acceptance for women to consume alcohol."

Professor Martin Plant, of the University of West of England, said the prediction was "staggering" but admitted it could happen.

291 litres - UK
245 litres - Germany
154 litres - Spain

"We know women are drinking more. Marketing strategies are targeting them more, they have more social time and traditional social attitudes to female drinking are changing.

"It is a problem across Europe but the UK certainly has some of the highest rates."

An Alcohol Concern spokeswoman said drinking had been increasing since the mid to late 1990s.

"Drinking this amount of alcohol, if they are drinking heavily, will put a tremendous stress on a person's health."

She also said being drunk could lead to women putting themselves at risk through unprotected sex and accidents.

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11 Oct 04 |  Health

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