Women’s alcohol consumption in the UK
DOI link for Women’s alcohol consumption in the UK
Women’s alcohol consumption in the UK book
The pattern of drinking in the UK, one of heavy episodic weekend drinking, is the wellrecognized Northern European pattern. More recently, although the pattern of drinking has remained the same, the amount drunk on each occasion has increased. The Cabinet O ce Prime Minister’s Strategy Group was the rst to de ne a ‘binge’ as twice the daily limit; therefore six or more units for women or eight or more units for a man. A UK unit contains eight grams of alcohol, the amount of alcohol contained in a small glass of wine, half a pint of ordinary strength beer, lager or cider, or a small glass of spirits. This de nition of binge has often led to misunderstanding, and in some ways implies that the pattern of drinking in the UK has changed. The fact is this pattern of consumption has remained unchanged for centuries. What has changed is the amount being drunk on each occasion. A recent survey by the British Liver Trust and Prima magazine notes one woman saying ‘I was shocked to discover I was a binge drinker’ (Prima 2009). This misleading idea that being a binge drinker, however de ned, is more important and serious than the amount being drunk is now common in the UK. This pattern of heavy episodic drinking is pertinent to this book as what is now being called binge drinking is recognized as the most risky for the unborn child. However, it is important to note that fewer women drink than men and women generally drink less than men (Plant and Plant 2006; Wilsnack et al. 2000). For this reason men are more likely to experience, cause or in ict alcohol-related harm (Plant 2008).