Binge drinking down in teenage boys!
First of all girls overtook boys in exam results then there was the Ofcom report last month suggesting that girls understand the media and new technology better than boys and now, apparently, the ultimate indiginity: teenage girls in the UK have overtaken boys as binge drinkers for the first time.
But while the media interest in this story has tended to concentrate on the fact that British girls now out drink everyone in Europe except the Irish, perhaps the real story is that binge drinking among young British males appears to be decreasing.
The research, published by the Institute of Alcohol Studies suggests that binge drinking among teenage boys is down from one in three to one in four. In 2003 (the most recent year for which figures exist), 29% of teenage girls were binge drinkers compared with 26% of boys whereas in 1999 the figures were 27% for girls and 33% for boys.
Britain is once again compared unfavourably with France where the drink culture around children is far more relaxed but binge-drinking relatively rare. The study, which was funded by the European Commission and looked at the effect of alcohol throughout Europe, found only 9% of French teens could be classed as binge drinkers.
Among adults, Britons rank among the top binge drinkers in Europe. British drinkers binge about once every 13 days - 28 days a year - the second-highest rate in Europe behind Finland and Ireland, both on 32 times.
Alcohol is the third biggest public health problem in Europe after tobacco and high blood pressure at a social cost estimated to be 125,000,000,000 billion euros (£86,000,000,000) from healthcare, crime and problems at work. The study's authors say the damage could be limited by increasing alcohol taxation, tightening advertising rules and making labeling on the dangers of alcohol misuse more clear.
They reckon that if alcohol taxes were used to raise the price of alcohol in the EU by 10%, over 9,000 deaths would be prevented in the following year.
Page created on June 5th, 2006
Page updated on December 21st, 2009