Are you in drink denial Half of adults down too much alcohol yet barely a quarter ADMIT doing soFemale binge drinker drinks six units at least one day a week A male binge drinker consumes eight units at least one day a week80 per cent of women and 75 per cent of men who often drink alcohol are classified as binge drinkers, study finds
00:15 GMT, 27 February 2013
09:00 GMT, 27 February 2013
A unit is a small glass of wine, half a pint of lager or a measure of spirits
Millions of adults fool themselves into thinking they are modest drinkers when they down enough to be classed as ‘bingers’, a study suggests.
It found a huge mismatch between the amount of alcohol we say we are consuming and what is actually being bought.
When the two figures are compared, 40 per cent of sales are unaccounted for.
The study suggests that around half the adult population are binge drinkers.
However, only 13 per cent of women and 22 per cent of men admit to being in this category.
Using a complicated computer model, academics at University College London tried to estimate the true amount being drunk.
They based it on two sets of official data on alcohol consumption – the Health Survey for England and the General Lifestyle Survey – which covered 22,000 adults.
Their study – published in the European Journal of Public Health – found that 80 per cent of women and 75 per cent of men who often drank alcohol were binge drinkers.
That came to 43 per cent of all women and 51 per cent of men, once teetotallers and those who rarely drink are included.
Yet the latest figures compiled by the Government gave figures of just 13 per cent and 22 per cent.
The researchers said many people completing the official surveys underestimate, forget or even lie about the amount they drink. As a result, most are thought to drastically underestimate their intake
Only 13 per cent of women and 22 per cent of men admit to being in the 'binge drinking' category
Many of us are consuming far more than we realise and regularly exceed the recommended limits.
Guidelines from the Department of
Health state that women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a
week while men should not exceed 21.
A unit is a small glass of wine, half a pint of lager or a measure of spirits.
The guidelines also classify a binge drinker as a woman who drinks six units at least one day a week or a man who drinks eight units.
Sadie Boniface, lead author of the study and based at the department of epidemiology and public health at UCL, said: ‘This study was conducted to show what alcohol consumption would look like when all of what is sold is accounted for, if everyone under-reported equally.
‘What is seen in the surveys and sales potentially has enormous implications for public health.’