Older women are drinking more than ever before, according to a new study carried out by the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse. And while research focused on individuals across the pond, it is an issue that could well be affecting a generation of women in the UK.
Scientists have found that binge drinking is increasing far more rapidly in the older female population than the equivalent in men. Over the course of 17 years, heavy drinking in women was found to have increased by four per cent.
The definition of binge drinking states that five or more drinks are consumed in one session for men and four or more for women. Of the 65,000 people over 60 studied, 6,500 men and 1,700 women were found to be binge drinkers, so despite the increase, it is still a mainly male problem.
Dr Rosalind Breslow, leader of the research, spoke to HealthDay about the findings. She commented on how it found that between 1997 and 2014, male drinkers increased by around one per cent each year, while for women this was nearly two per cent a year.
She added: “There is a great deal of speculation that baby boomers drank more when they were young and continue to drink more as a group. There is some limited evidence to support this speculation. We did find that more younger boomers, ages 60 to 64, both men and women, were drinking than people of the same age in past generations.”
An increase in excessive drinking for any section of society is a worrying trend, as it has been linked to a number of long-term health issues. When it comes to women, however, the problem is even more acute as women’s bodies are less able to tolerate alcohol as men’s due to a lower water content.