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Adult drinking habits in Great Britain, 2013

The statistical bulletin ‘Adult Drinking Habits in Great Britain, 2013’ was released by the ONS on 13 February. Between 2005 and 2013 there was a small but gradual increase, from 19% to 21%, in the proportion of adults who said that they do not drink alcohol at all (teetotallers). Binge drinking also fell over this period, from 18% to 15%, due partly to fewer adults choosing to drink alcohol. Generally, the falls in drinking between 2005 and 2013 were a result of changes among younger adults, with little or no change in older groups. In 2013 young adults (those aged 16 to 24) became just as likely to be teetotallers as those aged 65 and over (27%). Between 2005 and 2013 there was a rise of over 40% in the proportion of young adults who said that they do not drink alcohol at all. In contrast, when young adults did drink they still remained the most likely group to have binged. 40% of young adults who drank alcohol in the week before interview exceeded the level defined as binge drinking (8 units for men, 6 units for women) on at least one day. This fell in older age groups, to less than 10% of those aged 65 and over. Key Findings: 21% of adults said that they do not drink alcohol at all, up from 19% in 2005. Young adults (aged 16 to 24) were primarily responsible for this change, with the proportion of young adults who reported that they do not drink alcohol at all increasing by over 40% between 2005 and 2013. The proportion of adults who binged at least once in the week before interview decreased from 18% in 2005 to 15% in 2013. Young adults were mainly responsible for the decrease in binge drinking, down from 29% to 18%. The proportion of young adults who drank frequently has fallen by more than two-thirds since 2005. Only 1 in 50 young adults drank alcohol frequently (on five or more days) in 2013. 32% of adults in London said that they do not drink alcohol at all. This was considerably higher than any other region of Great Britain. Adults in the north of England and in Scotland who drank in the week before interview were more likely to have binged than adults elsewhere in Great Britain.

www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/ghs/opinions-and-lifestyle-survey/adult-drinking-habits-in-great-britain--2013/stb-drinking-2013.html

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