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Most adults drink responsibly, government figures show

Published:  26 May, 2010

Government figures show that most adults are drinking within health guidelines, and that more people are aware that the guidelines exist.

According to the latest statistical bulletin on alcohol from the Information Centre for Health and Social Care, based on 2008 research, 72% of men reported drinking within the government guidelines (21 units in an average week). For women, 80% reported drinking within the government guidelines (14 units) in an average week.

The average weekly alcohol consumption in England was 16.8 units for men and 8.6 units for women.

There has been an increase from 54% in 1997 to 75% in 2009 in the proportion of people who have heard of daily drinking limits.

Six per cent of men and 2% of women were classified as harmful drinkers. 

WSTA chief executive Jeremy Beadles said: "Today's Government figures confirm the continued fall in overall alcohol consumption in the UK and show that awareness of alcohol units has increased significantly since 1997.

"While we should be concerned by the rise in alcohol related-deaths, it's clear government efforts to combat alcohol misuse should continue to be focused on the minority of people who drink excessively, not the vast majority who enjoy a drink in moderation."