Middle class drinking scare debunked

Sleeping at SparAlcohol related scare stories are unhealthily popular at the moment and today we learn that a new study ‘suggest[s] that alcohol consumption is increasingly a problem among the middle classes’. Except, as John Band points out, it doesn’t.

We learn that in 2006: ‘Men and women in “managerial and professional” households drank an average of 15.1 units a week’. (The workers manage just 11.8 units.) Which is no big deal as the Department of Health recommends that men should drink no more than three to four units of alcohol a day, and women no more than two to three units of alcohol a day; so 21 to 28 units for men and fourteen to 21 units for women per week.

And we learn with mounting horror that men out drink women by 18.7 to nine units per week. Which is good news as this imbalance means that both men and women are comfortably outside the danger zone.

The story is being spun by Alcohol Concern, who achieved notoriety last year by calling for parents who serve children a glass of wine with dinner to be prosecuted.

What really matters is not average alcohol consumption – which this report suggests may even be falling – but the number of people whose health is threatened by drinking to excess.

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