Young women are now drinking as much as young men, with four in 10 admitting that they exceed recommended limits at least once a week, a new report shows.
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The figures will add to concerns over women drinking too much. Doctors say that they are starting to see cases of severe liver damage caused by alcohol in women in their twenties and early thirties, unheard of a decade ago.
Earlier this week an inquest heard that Emma Pycroft, a 33-year-old film publicist, died from liver disease as a result of drinking too much while entertaining work clients.
Larger glass sizes and the increasing strength and widespread popularity of wine, as well as the rise in the so-called "ladette" culture have been blamed for the rise in female drinking.
The Joseph Rowntree Trust has also highlighted the pressure of "positive advertising" for encouraging women that it is acceptable to frequently get drunk.
The figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that 40 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds admit that they drank more than the recommended three units of alcohol on at least one day in the past week in 2007.
A similar number of young men, 44 per cent, admit the same, although that figure is a drop from 52 per cent in 1998.
"As a result, the number of young women drinking more than the recommended daily limit has now reached a similar level to that of young men," a spokesman for the ONS said.
Nicolay Sorensen, from Alcohol Concern, said: "Of course everyone thinks women having greater sexual equality than before is a good thing - but there are consequences.
"Women have a greater parity with men than ever, and drinking to excess has been part of male culture for a long time and now increasingly it's part of female culture.
"On top of that alcohol is proportionately cheaper than it ever has been, and is more readily available with 24 hour licensing and many places offering free drinks for women."
He added: "We are going to see more and more women getting seriously ill or worse as a result of this alcohol abuse - it's a huge problem."
The Government recommends that women drink no more than between two and three units of alcohol a day, the same amount as in two small 125 ml glasses of wine or one pint of beer.
Men are recommended to limit their drinking to between three and four units a day.
A report earlier this year suggested that many women were drinking more than they realised because they used euphemistic terms such as "tipsy" to describe being drunk.
The ONS statistics also show that one in five children aged 11 to 15 in England admit that they have drunk alcohol in the past week.
The report also reveals the dangers of being a young man, including that they are likely to be involved in car crashes than young women.
The stereotypes are true - men really do like sport while women prefer shopping, official figures show.
Almost three in four young men, 73 per cent, said that they took part in sport or exercised in their free time, compared to just 44 per cent of young women, ONS statistics show.
The most common leisure activities among men were watching television, 83 per cent, and listening to music, 82 per cent, the study also found.
But among women they were socialising with their friends and family, 87 per cent, and shopping, 85 per cent.
By Kate Devlin, Medical Correspondent
Published: 7:00AM BST 12 Jun 2009
Source - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/h...-women-now-drinking-as-much-as-young-men.html