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Wealthy women more likely to binge drink

Wealthy and professional women are far more likely to binge drink than those on lower incomes, a new survey of Scotland’s health has suggested.

Official figures showed 31 per cent of females in homes with the highest earners drink more than the recommended limit of 14 units per week, the equivalent of seven pints of beer.

This is almost twice the proportion of women living in the poorest households, where only 16 per cent drink more than they should.

Unlike the consumption patterns among women, there was no link between men’s drinking levels and the opulence of the area in which they live.

Overall, a third of men and a fifth of women are drinking more than their recommended amount of alcohol every week, although their numbers are falling.

Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish health minister, said the figures showed drinking levels among many Scots are still “far too high”.

She said: “The amount that people drink in Scotland has reached worrying levels and is taking a heavy toll on our NHS, police, criminal justice and other services.”

The figures, from the Scottish Health Survey 2008, showed only a quarter of the richest women said they had not consumed alcohol in the previous week compared to 58 per cent of those earning the least money.

About a quarter of the wealthiest women said they had consumed more than six units of alcohol on their heaviest drinking day in the previous week, the official definition of binge drinking.

The corresponding figures for women in lower income groups were very similar and ranged between 15 per cent and 18 per cent.

The figures also show that about three in every ten men said their alcohol consumption was more than the recommended limit of 21 units per week.

About one in five women said they drank more than the recommended limit of 14 units per week.

However, this proportion has fallen from 34 per cent in 2003 among men and 23 per cent among women. On average, men consumed 18 units of alcohol per week and women drank 8.6 units.

Weekly consumption was higher among younger men and women than among older people.

Miss Sturgeon highlighted a radical package of measures designed to tackle Scotland’s binge drinking problem, including banning promotions.

Earlier this week she published research showing a minimum price for alcohol of 40p per unit would save taxpayers £950 million by reducing crime and the burden on the NHS.

Meanwhile, the figures also showed more than a third of boys in Scotland are now overweight and a majority of adults.

The survey found 36.1 per cent of boys aged between two and 15 were overweight last year, up from 32.4 per cent five years ago and from 27.8 per cent a decade ago.

More than Scottish two-thirds of men (68.5 per cent) and 60 per cent of women are overweight. More than a quarter of men (26 per cent) and women (27.5 per cent) are obese.

source: The Telegraph

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