A global study of drinking habits has shown that women have closed the gap on men in alcohol consumption.

Four million were analysed between 1891 and 2001 and the study shows that men drink more alcohol and have resultant health issues. Current generation women have pretty much closed the drinking gap.

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According to the BBC, the new drinking pattern may be explained by the changing roles of men and women in society.

The study showed that in people born in the early 1900s, men were:

  • More than twice as likely as women to drink alcohol at all (2.2 times).
  • Three times as likely to drink to problematic levels
  • And 3.6 times as likely to develop health problems from drinking, such as liver cirrhosisBut for those born at the end of the century men were only
  • A smidge – 1.1 times – as likely as women to drink alcohol at all
  • A much lower 1.2 times as likely to drink to problematic levels
  • And 1.3 times as likely to develop health problems from drinking

The team at the University of New South Wales, in Australia, analysed data from people all over the world (mainly North America and Europe).

“The present study calls this assumption into question and suggests that young women, in particular, should be the target of concerted efforts to reduce the impact of substance use and related harms.”

“The increasing availability of alcohol also plays an important part, as does the way that alcohol marketing is often targeted specifically at women and particularly young women.

“Health professionals need to help the public – both men and women – to understand the health risks of alcohol consumption, and how to reduce those risks.”