LIFESTYLE

Millions Of Brits Have Consumed Weekly Alcohol Limit In One Day, New Figures Show

09/03/2016 13:29 GMT | Updated 09/03/2016 16:59 GMT

Roughly 2.5 million people have drunk one week's worth of booze in just one day, new figures suggest.

The Office of National Statistics revealed that drinkers consumed more than 14 units of alcohol on their heaviest drinking day - equating to roughly six pints of beer or 1.4 bottles of wine.

The data, compiled from interviews done in 2014, paints a picture of the general drinking habits of people in Great Britain.

Health experts have since warned people of the consequences of drinking copious amounts of alcohol.

drinking wine

Dr Claire Knight, Cancer Research UK’s health information manager, said: "Alcohol causes seven types of cancer, including bowel, breast and mouth cancers, so it’s concerning to see these figures.

"The less alcohol you drink, the lower the risk of cancer. No one expects the UK to become a nation of tee-totallers, but it’s important people know how they can reduce their cancer risk."

Chief executive of Alcohol Concern Jackie Ballard said more needs to be done to raise awareness of the harm alcohol can do to health.

She said: "Alcohol continues to be the leading risk factor for deaths among both men and women aged 15-49 and is linked to over 60 medical conditions including cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure.

"We need to raise awareness of the health harms. When it comes to alcohol, there are no safe limits of consumption."

Figures showed that young drinkers (aged 16-24) were most likely to consume more than the weekly recommended limit in one day.

Among 16 to 24 year old drinkers, 17% consumed more than 14 units compared with 2% of those aged 65 and over.

Men were more likely than women to drink alcohol and tended to consume higher amounts.

In the week previous to the survey, 64% of men had drunk alcohol, with over half (52%) drinking more than 4.67 units on their heaviest drinking day.

In comparison, 53% of women had drunk alcohol in the previous week, with only 37% of those drinking more than 4.67 units on the heaviest day.

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Men were three times more likely to have drunk over 14 units on their heaviest drinking day than women.

Meanwhile the percentage of people that had consumed their weekly alcohol limit in one day was highest for Wales (14%) and Scotland (13%).

Dr Helen Webberley, the dedicated GP for Oxford Online Pharmacy, said more research needs to be done to understand how much alcohol is considered "safe".

She said: "We all know that excessive alcohol is bad for us and does irreversible harm. Some people seem to get away with it, while others seem to develop liver disease with relatively low alcohol intake.

"We know that bingeing is bad but we also know that steady, continuous drinking, with no repair time, is bad too.

"What has never been fully evaluated is exactly how much can be considered 'safe'? We guess at the impact of 14, 18, 24, and 28 units on the human body, but this is not evidence based.

"Anyone concerned about their own alcohol intake or that of another should talk to their GP who can provide further advice and information, as well as putting you in touch with relevant charities who can offer support."

The report also found that almost one in five higher earners drank alcohol at least five days a week.

Individuals with an annual income of £40,000 and over were more than twice as likely (18%) to be frequent drinkers compared with those with an annual income less than £10,000 (8%).

Wine (including champagne) was the most popular alcohol choice, closely followed by beer, stout, lager and cider.

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