The Elderly Out-Drinking The Youth

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Young British men may be binge drinkers but as they approach middle age their infrequent drinking habits slowly turn into a daily occurrence reveals new report.

Men are drinking more heavily later on in life, especially at around retirement age, making frequent drinking the most common pattern of alcohol consumption in the elderly.

The report published in the journal BMC Medicine looked at data from a series of studies carried out over the past 30 years involving 60,000 people to estimate how British drinking habits change throughout their life time.

Binge drinking amongst men peaks around the age of 25 where they are consuming around 20 units of alcohol per week, data showed.

Alcohol consumption plateaus by the time they reach middle age and reduces by their late 60’s; however although the volume of alcohol intake decreases their frequency increases.

“Drinking once or twice a week was prevalent among adolescents and those in their twenties,” the paper explains.

“Drinking only monthly or on special occasions was more common among women than men.

“Frequent drinking (daily or most days of the week) became more common in middle to old age, most notably among men, reaching above 50 per cent in men aged 65 years”

The study led by academics at University College London, and the first of its kind, concluded that assumptions about the types of people drinking and the groups of people that drink the most and are thought to be “high risk” would have to be reconsidered.

“We have shown that people change the way they consume alcohol as they age, and as such, studies reliant on a single measure of alcohol intake are likely to be biased” Dr Annie Britton, a senior lecturer in epidemiology and lead author said.

“It is essential that the dynamic nature of exposure to alcohol over the life span is incorporated into the estimates of harm.”

“I wasn't shocked to see that alcohol volume changes over the life course, but the high proportion of older men drinking daily is a bit alarming.

“It raises concerns that they are becoming dependent on alcohol and there are risks in this age group mixing alcohol with medications.” she added.

Source: The Telegraph