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Image / Editorial

Irish women in their 50’s are among the world’s worst problem drinkers


By Erin Lindsay
28th Aug 2018
Irish women in their 50’s are among the world’s worst problem drinkers

According to a new study by the University of Washington, Irish women are among the heaviest female drinkers in the world. They now rank seventh in the world for the amount of alcohol they consume daily, with women in their 50’s being classed as the country’s biggest female problem drinkers.

The study pooled data from 592 studies with 28 million participants to give a more detailed and accurate picture of worldwide alcohol consumption. Published in the Lancet medical journal, the study found that Irish women drink, on average, 3.1 standard drinks per day, putting them ahead of British women in the league chart. Ukranian women topped the rankings, averaging seven drinks per day.

In contrast, Irish men do not even enter the top ten of their equivalent league table of alcohol consumption. Even though they consume an average of 4.5 drinks daily, women now rank higher than men internationally for drinking levels.

When broken down into age groups, the study reveals the drinking habits of women at different life stages. Irish women in their 50s are classed as the worst problem drinkers, consuming an average of 4.9 standard drinks every day. Women in their 20s come next, with a slightly lower average of 4.4 drinks per day, followed by women in their 30s, who drink 3.6 standard drinks per day.

While the belief that a standard drink of red wine every day can be beneficial for heart health is quite common, the new report debunks this as a myth and warns that there is no safe limit to alcohol consumption. The authors have stated that any benefits that come from drinking alcohol are outweighed by the harms.

The study also showed the harmful and often devastating effects of alcohol abuse, stating that there were 990 alcohol-related deaths among women in Ireland in 2016, and 1,800 deaths among men in the same year. The report warned that the only real solution to problem drinking is abstinence, to avoid the risk of addiction, cancer, injury and heart disease.