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Shame as region is named binge drinking central.

Byline: Simon Meechan Reporter

THE North East is Britain's binge drinking capital with 40% of boozers admitting to having too much in their heaviest session of the week.

The Office for National Statistics has released a statistical bulletin which explores drinking habits of adults around Great Britain.

Its findings are based on the responses from 7,700 people aged over 16.

Based as a proportion of Britain's population, when their responses are weighted up they indicate 29 million people in Britain drink alcohol, 7.8m of which admit to binge boozing on the day of the week they drink the most. The statistics found people in the North East are the most likely to be binge drinkers.

For men, binge drinking is exceeding eight units in one day, for women it is six.

Out of people in the North East who consume alcohol, 40% drank to binge levels in the week before the survey was taken. The national average is 27%.

The region also tops the charts for the number of men who drank more than 12 units and women who topped six units in a day, which 22% did, compared to 14% nationally.

The ONS points out drinking is often more likely in less diverse areas, while people from different cultures have varying attitudes to binging.

Data shows London is one of Britain's most ethnically diverse areas, and that could explain why the capital had the highest teetotal rate, at 32%, compared to 20% in the North East.

The survey also asked respondents if they had drank on at least five days in the previous week. The North East had one of the lowest rates for fivedays-out-of-seven drinking.

In the region, 7% admitted to drinking on at least five days of the previous week. Only Scotland ranked lower, with 6%. The South East and South West had the highest level of five days-in-a-week drinkers - two regions which ranked the second lowest and equal lowest for binge drinking.

Newcastle GP, Dr Guy Pilkington said: "These latest figures on the number of people in the North East binge drinking are clearly worrying and I regularly see the results in my surgery.

"They are also reflected in the fact that, despite recent improvements, the region continues to suffer from the highest rate of alcohol-related hospital admissions in England.

"Alcohol is linked to over 60 different medical conditions, including stroke, heart disease and a range of different cancers.

"The best thing people can do to protect themselves is to stay under the recommended weekly guidelines of 14 units a week for men and women, that's the equivalent of six pints of regular strength beer or six standard glasses of wine a week.

"The North East is doing more than anywhere in the country to warn of the dangers of drinking too much but clearly there is more to be done."

People aged 16-21 are less likely to drink than any other group, but when they do drink they will consume more on their heaviest day than other age group.

High earners are the most likely to be frequent drinkers and binge on their heaviest day.

In 2016, binge drinking was a more common trait in the north of England.

For men, their drink of choice for a binge session was beer, but for women it was wine.

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 8, 2017
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