2.5m Britons exceed recommended weekly alcohol limit in single day, figures show


Around 2.5 million Britons drink their weekly limit of alcohol in a single day, new data suggests.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that almost one in 10 drinkers (9%) - or 2.5 million people - consume more than 14 units in a single session, with younger groups most likely to binge drink.

New NHS drinking guidelines published in January said men and women should stick to 14 units of alcohol per week.

The UK's chief medical officers said no level of regular drinking is without risk to health and people should have several booze-free days a week but not "save up" their 14 units for a binge.

When drinking on a single occasion, they said people should drink more slowly, consume alcohol with food, and alternate alcoholic drinks with water.

The new ONS data shows that 58% of people (28.9 million) drink some alcohol in a typical week, according to the 2014 drinking survey just published.

This proportion is down from 64% in 2005 but the drop has been less sharp for middle-aged Britons.

Young people were less likely to have drunk alcohol in the previous week than those who were older, with fewer than half of 16 to 24-year-olds saying they did so, compared with 66% of 45 to 64-year-olds.

Among the younger group, the proportion drinking every week has fallen from 60% in 2005, but middle-aged drinking every week has only fallen a few percentage points, from 69% in 2005.

The data showed that 17% of 16 to 24-year-olds drink more than 14 units in a day, while 11% of 25 to 44-year-olds do the same.

Wales had the highest number, drinking 14 units or more in a single day (14%), followed by Scotland (13%).

Of all those who had drunk alcohol in the previous week, 45% (12.9 million people) consumed more than 4.67 units - a third of the new weekly guideline - on their heaviest drinking day. 

The highest percentages who had drunk alcohol in the previous week were in the South East (62%) and the South West (62%).

Men were more likely to have drunk alcohol than women, and were more likely to binge drink than women.