The Health Survey for England series was designed to monitor trends in the nation’s health. The sample in 2015 contained 8,034 adults and 5,714. For alcohol, the Key findings were:
In 2015, 83% of adults had drunk alcohol in the last 12 months.
On average, men drank a mean of 14.9 units in a usual week and women drank a mean of 8.9 units.
13% of men and 20% of women, had not drunk alcohol in the last 12 months. 55% of men and 64% of women, drank at levels considered to be at lower risk of alcohol-related harm (up to 14 units). The remaining 31% of men and 16% of women drank over 14 units in a usual week.
Drinking over 14 units in a usual week was most common among men and women aged 55 to 64 (41% and 24% respectively).
Men and women in higher income households were more likely to drink over 14 units in a usual week (37% and 22% respectively) than were men and women in lower income households (29% and 9% respectively).
15% of men and 9% of women drank alcohol on five or more days in the last week. • Among adults who had drunk alcohol in the last week, 52% of men drank above 4 units on at least one day, and 50% of women exceeded 3 units on at least one day.
The proportion of children who reported ever having had a proper alcoholic drink increased with age, from 4% of boys aged 8 to 53% of boys aged 15, and from 2% of girls aged 8 to 54% of girls aged 15. Overall, 16% of boys and 15% of girls aged 8 to 15 reported having experience of drinking alcohol. This is the lowest level ever reported by the Health Survey for England.
Regular drinking in this age group was rare. 1% of boys and 1% of girls aged 8 to 15 reported usually drinking once a week or more. The proportion who reported drinking at least once a week increased from fewer than 1% of both boys and girls aged 8 to 5% of boys and 4% of girls aged 15.
5% of both boys and girls aged 13 to 15 reported drinking alcohol in the last seven days. Boys were more likely than girls to have drunk beer, lager, cider or shandy (5% compared with 3%), whereas girls were more likely than boys to have drunk wine (2% compared with 1%).