Alcohol consumption in England increases with age

woman drinking alcoholHalf of women and 65% of men have drunk alcohol in the last week, new figures from NHS Digital show.

The percentage of men and women who have had an alcoholic drink in the last week generally increases with age.

Alcohol consumption is highest amongst 65 to 74-year-old men (71%) and women (58%).

‘In 2018 the UK government announced it would be creating a new, stand-alone alcohol strategy,’ Laura Bunt, acting chief executive of the charity Addaction, said.

‘But this January, the government quietly rolled the promise back.

‘These statistics show that we need a new approach.’

Minimum unit pricing

The number of men and women drinking more than 14 units in a week varies across age groups.

However, it was most common amongst 55 to 64-year-olds, with 38% of men and 19% of women drinking more than 14 units.

Across all age groups, men were more likely to consume alcohol at higher risk levels.

‘We know that minimum unit pricing has been effective in reducing consumption,’ Ms Bunt continued.

‘In Scotland, alcohol sales hit a 25-year low since its introduction in 2018.

‘We need a national strategy, we can see from these statistics that the group most at risk are older adults.

‘We’ve learnt from our services that as people age, big life events leave people feeling isolated and unable to cope.

‘What’s more, harmful alcohol use among older adults is often a hidden problem, with many drinking at home alone instead of out and socialising.’

Excessive alcohol consumption

The maximum amount of alcohol drunk on any day in the last week continued on a downward trend.

Only 19% of men drank more than eight units in one day in 2018, compared with 24% in 2006.

And 16% of women drank more than six units in one day over the last week, compared with 12% in 2006.


To read the latest statistics visit NHS Digital.

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