‘Wine o’clock’ culture blamed for UK women being biggest boozers in world: Shock report reveals one in four get hammered each month
British women are the biggest binge drinkers in the developed world; one in four gets hammered every month, a report has found.
About 26 percent admit to consuming six or more alcoholic drinks on one occasion, with experts blaming a ‘ladette’ and ‘wine o’clock’ culture.
This is more than double the average rate of 12 percent among the 33 countries analyzed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
British women were matched only by those from Denmark (26 percent), followed by Luxembourg (24 percent) and Germany (22 percent).
The OECD’s Health at a Glance 2023 report warns that alcohol increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, cirrhosis and certain cancers.
Nearly one in five adults reported binge drinking at least once a month, on average across 29 OECD countries in 2019. This figure varies tenfold, from less than 3 percent in Turkey to more than 30 percent in Germany, Luxembourg, the Great Britain and Denmark
The OECD measured alcohol consumption by country using sales data, with people consuming an average of 8.6 liters in 2021. However, intake varied from more than twelve liters in Latvia and Lithuania to less than five liters in Turkey, Costa Rica, Israel and Colombia. Britain ranks 17th with 10 liters, while the US ranks 23rd with 9.5 liters
British men are the third biggest binge drinkers, with 46 percent drinking the equivalent of 60 grams of pure ethanol on one occasion in the past 30 days.
This places them behind Romania (55 percent) and Denmark (49 percent) and compared to an international average of 27 percent.
Addiction expert John Britton, emeritus professor at the University of Nottingham, said: ‘These figures are extremely worrying.
‘Damage is happening right under our noses as alcohol remains an integral part of British society and everyday life, just as tobacco was.
‘In other countries, alcohol is used as a social lubricant – a way to make social occasions more fun – and not as a way to become legless, as is often the case here.
‘Too many people also use alcohol to relax at the end of a stressful working day, when they should be looking for healthier alternatives.’
Britons each drank the equivalent of 10 liters of pure ethanol in 2021 – around 111 bottles of wine – the latest figures show. This is an increase compared to 9.9 liters in 2011.
Only one in seven adults report eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day, which is recommended by the WHO. The figure was highest in Britain and Ireland (more than 30 percent) and lowest in Turkey and Romania (less than five percent).
In 2019, four in ten adults performed at least 150 minutes of non-work-related aerobic physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity per week, on average across 32 OECD countries. The figure ranged from 10 percent or less in Turkey and Romania to more than 60 percent in Switzerland, Australia, Norway, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
In almost all OECD countries, more than half of adults were overweight or obese. On average, 54 percent of adults were overweight and 18 percent were obese in 2021. Obesity rates were lowest in Korea (four percent) and highest in Chile (41 percent) and the US (34 percent).
Data from the OECD shows that in 2021, 15.9 percent of people over the age of 15 smoked tobacco daily. The figures ranged from more than 25 percent in France and Turkey to less than 10 percent in Iceland and Norway.
While smoking is declining in most countries, vaping is increasing, according to OECD data. On average, 3.2 percent of people over 15 vape regularly, ranging from more than eight percent in Estonia and New Zealand to less than one percent in Sweden, Chile and Austria
People in Latvia drank the most (12.2 liters), Indonesia the least (0.1 liters) and the average was 8.6 liters, the intergovernmental body said.
Dr. Rachel Orritt, health information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: ‘Drinking alcohol causes seven different types of cancer.
‘Drinking does not mean that someone will definitely develop cancer, but the risk is greater the more alcohol someone drinks.
‘Whatever people’s drinking habits, cutting back will reduce the risk.’
Dr. Richard Piper, CEO of Alcohol Change UK, said: ‘Alcohol is causing too much harm here in Britain. But this is completely avoidable.
‘There is an overwhelming need for the Government to introduce measures that we know will reduce alcohol harm and save lives, such as good controls on the marketing of alcohol, introducing minimum unit pricing in England, as we already have done in Scotland and Wales, and clearer labeling of alcohol. ‘
The OECD report also shows that Britain spends more on healthcare than comparable countries, but has fewer hospital beds and scanners and pays nurses less.
About 28 percent of adults in Britain are obese, compared to an OECD average of 25.7 percent.
And almost one in 20 adults in Britain (4.9 percent) say they vape regularly, compared to an average of 3.2 percent elsewhere.
DO YOU DRINK TOO MUCH ALCOHOL? THE 10 QUESTIONS THAT REVEAL YOUR RISK
A screening tool commonly used by medical professionals is the AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Tests). The ten-question test was developed in collaboration with the World Health Organization and is considered the gold standard in determining whether someone has alcohol abuse problems.
The test is reproduced here with permission from WHO.
To complete it, answer each question and record the corresponding score.
0-7: You are within the reasonable drinking range and at low risk for alcohol-related problems.
More than 8: Indicate harmful or dangerous drinking.
8-15: Medium risk level. If you drink at your current level, you risk developing problems with your health and life in general, such as at work and in your relationships. Consider cutting back (see below for tips).
16-19: Higher risk of complications from alcohol. At this level it can be difficult to cut back on yourself because you may be dependent and therefore need professional help from your GP and/or a care provider.
20 and older: Possible dependency. Your drinking is already causing problems, and you could very well be dependent. You should definitely consider quitting gradually or at least reducing your alcohol consumption. You should seek professional help to determine your level of dependence and the safest way to quit alcohol.
Severe dependence may require medically supervised withdrawal or detox in a hospital or specialized clinic. This is due to the likelihood of severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms occurring during the first 48 hours, requiring specialist treatment.