Binge-drinking Britons risk health

London: One in four Britons regular binge drinks, according to research by healthcare company BUPA Wellness.

The UK Government’s safe drinking limit recommends that women should drink no more than two to three units of alcohol and a day and men no more than three to four units. But according to BUPA Wellness nearly one in three men and one in five women drink at least double the ‘healthy’ amount of alcohol on a night out. This means 11million Britons risk their health by binge drinking, says a study.

The figures come a month before much-criticised liberalisation of the UK’s drink licensing hours come into force. Police, doctors and the judiciary have repeatedly criticised the move, fearing it will worsen the problem of binge drinking.

Alarmingly, the research – carried out for the health assessment company BUPA Wellness – suggests millions expect to drink even more once the law is relaxed.
Each drink or unit is the equivalent of a half pint of beer, pub measure of spirits or a small glass of wine.

But the poll of 2,000 men and women found one in four was drinking more than double the recommended limits on a single night out. This is classed as binge drinking.

Around one in three men (29 per cent) and one in five women (20 per cent) said they regularly drank to excess on nights out.

Young men were found to be most likely to binge drink, with 47 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 classed as binge drinkers.

But there was widespread denial about levels of drinking. Almost three- quarters (69 per cent) of those who clearly drank too much insisted they were not binge drinkers.

Two out of three said they were not concerned about how much alcohol they drank.

The new licensing laws, which come into effect on November 24, will allow pubs and clubs to serve drinks for longer.

One in six (16 per cent) of those surveyed believe the extended opening hours will encourage them to drink more.

Business also pays the price for binge drinking. Fifteen per cent of drinkers took at least one ‘ hangover day’ off work each year. Some said they took as many as five.

Two out of five of those surveyed claimed they were ‘ confused’ by the Government’s advice on safe drinking.