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Surge in female binge drinking

One in six female drinkers over 16 years old now consumes more than double the recommended daily amount of alcohol, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

It reports that the number of "binge" drinkers doubled to 15% – three million – between 1998 and 2006, while the number of young male binge drinkers fell by 9% since 2000.

So while men still binge drink more – one in four consume twice as much as they should – the gender gap is closing.

Says lead author Lesley Smith, from Oxford Brookes University: "An examination of trends over the last 15 to 20 years indicates that it is generally the behaviour of women that has increased towards that of men, at least in the UK where the gender gap in drinking at excessive and harmful levels has decreased over recent years.

"Much concern has been expressed in recent years about young people's drinking – and young people binge-drinking in particular.

"Many people will be surprised to learn that young men's drinking, including binge-drinking, has gone down in recent years."

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Joseph Rowntree Foundation