Binge drinking worst among better-educated women

May 14, 2015


By Rachel Lee

Highly educated professional women drink at dangerous levels, a study has found.

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), among the biggest binge drinkers in 15 developed countries are wealthier, better-educated women. For men, the poorer, less-educated group led the way.

“More years spent in education, improved labor market prospects, increased opportunities for socializing, delayed pregnancies and family ties are all part of women’s changing lifestyles, in which alcohol drinking, sometimes including heavy drinking, has easily found a place,” the report, “Tackling Harmful Alcohol Use,” said.

The increase in binge drinking among those women might be due to more stress from higher responsibilities in their better-paid jobs, the report said. It might also be because drinking among women has become more accepted.

Hazardous drinking was also growing among children, the study found.

The proportion of 15-year-olds who have drunk alcohol increased from 30 percent in 2002 to 40 percent in 2010. The proportion of 15-year-old girls and boys who have never drunk was down 29 and 10 percent, respectively, during the period.

Over the past 20 years, alcohol consumption in OECD countries has fallen 2.5 percent, on average. In 2012, the average per-head consumption was 9.1 liters of pure alcohol, equivalent of 100 bottles of wine.

France, Austria and Estonia had the highest of consumption– 12 liters or above per head. Those below the average include Korea, the United States and Canada. Israel and Turkey had the lowest consumption.


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