Wales

Wales tops alcohol binge drinking stats in ONS survey

Man drinking a pint of lager Image copyright PA

People in Wales are more likely to be binge drinkers than anywhere else in Britain, new figures have revealed.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey found almost one in seven adults (14%) in Wales had drunk 14 units or more in a single day - higher than England (8%) and Scotland (13%).

New UK government guidelines advised that people should not regularly drink more than 14 units a week.

Public Health Wales called the figures "a concern".

The 14-unit limit is equivalent to six pints of beer or seven glasses of wine.

The survey, Adult drinking habits in Great Britain: 2014, revealed mixed messages about Wales and alcohol.

It found Wales had one of the lowest levels of people who drank alcohol in the week before they were questioned by researchers - only 53% of people had consumed alcohol, second to London with 51%.

The highest percentages were in south east England and south west England, both at 62%.

The survey found that for Britain as a whole, 28.9 million people had drank alcohol in the week before they were interviewed.

By a small margin, the figures showed Wales was the nation with the lowest proportion of teetotallers - 20% compared to 21% in both England and Scotland.

London was the only area in Britain where more than a quarter did not drink at all, at 29%.

'No safe limit'

Across Britain, almost one in five higher earners - those with an annual income of £40,000 or more - drank at least five days a week

The survey also found young people were less likely to have consumed alcohol in the past week than those who were older, and wine was the most popular drink.

Ashley Gould, consultant in public health for Public Health Wales, said: "The number of people that report drinking during the previous week is falling, and it is good news that the biggest decline is in younger people.

"There is no safe limit, but if people choose to drink they can keep their risks low by drinking no more than 14 units a week."

But he added: "It is a concern that some people are drinking up to the weekly limit on a single day."

A Welsh government spokesman said the fact drinking among teenagers in Wales has declined since the late 1990s showed young people were "taking a prudent approach to their health".

"We encourage everyone to look at the recent guidance issued by the UK's chief medical officers and consider the merits of reducing their alcohol intake in order to reduce the risks to their own health," he added.

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