Study shows affluent over 50s most at risk of harmful drinking
According to a study by AGE UK’s chief economist, Professor Jose Iparraguirre, affluent over 50s are most at risk of harmful drinking, and researchers have warned that it’s a health and social problem hiding in plain sight.
A study of more than 9,000 people concluded that people over 50 who are healthy, active, sociable and highly educated are more at risk of harmful drinking than their peers who are less well-off – it’s an issue that is largely unrecognised because this group is typically healthier than other parts of the older population.
In the study, higher-risk drinking is defined as consuming more than 50 alcohol units per week for men and over 35 units per week for women – roughly equivalent to five or more bottles of wine for men and 3.5 for women.
To combat this “middle class” phenomenon, the study recommends explicit age-specific guidelines on alcohol intake to help educate over 50s about the risks of drinking too much. Harmful drinking can lead to conditions such as stroke, some cancers, depression and liver disease.
“Our analysis challenges popular perceptions of who is drinking too much,” Professor Jose Iparraguirre, who carried out the research, said.
“It suggests public health messaging is not reaching high income groups who are most at risk.
“Because this group is typically healthier than other parts of the older population, they might not realise that what they are doing is putting their health in danger.”
Understanding the guidelines
What the study highlights is that harmful drinking doesn’t always look how we might expect; through many of us can recognise overt signs of alcoholism, overconsumption can be more difficult to detect because often it takes place in our own homes.
Rather than bouts of binge drinking, the study suggests people are failing to recognise how several glasses of wine with dinner or drinks in the evening can add up and develop into a pattern of moderate drinking over time.
Current NHS guidelines recommend that men consume no more than 21 units of alcohol and women 14 units of alcohol per week. Understanding how many units you are drinking will go a long way to making sure you regularly stay within the NHS guidelines. For example:
- A pint of beer is 2 units
- A standard glass of wine is 2.1 units
- A bottle of beer or cider is 1.7 units
- A single small shot of spirits is 1 unit
Under the guidelines, a safe amount of alcohol works out to roughly one regular-sized glass of wine per day for women and one large-sized glass of wine per day for men.
The simplest way to understand if you may be drinking too much is to keep a drinks diary – this one from the NHS helpfully outlines how many units are in most drinks and makes it easy for you to quickly assess whether you may need to cut back after tracking how much you drink in a typical week.
Do you think over 50s need to watch their alcohol consumption more closely?
All content on Silversurfers.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated at all as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Silversurfers will not be responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content on www.silversurfers.com and we are also not liable for the content of any external websites or links from or to Silversurfers to any other websites. Please always consult your own doctor if you’re in any way concerned about any aspect of your health.
Have you got a health question?
Silversurfers Health partner is AXA PPP healthcare. The AXA PPP healthcare's online service, "Ask the Expert", allows you to ask their team of friendly and experienced nurses, midwives, counselors and pharmacists about any health topic.
Don't feel alone. You can ask anything about your health, any time for 24 hours a day; everyday. Please get in touch with us now.
ASK THE EXPERT
Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor
Latest posts by Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor (see all)
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!