Frequent drinking most common in men over 65
The results of the analysis, which are published in BMC Medicine, revealed that both men and women saw a sharp rise in the average amount of alcohol consumed during adolescence, and this peaked in young adulthood. During middle age, however, alcohol consumption declined and plateaued, before declining again in older age.
Women were found to have a lower average peak alcohol consumption than men. Peak alcohol consumption for men reached 20 units a week, while the peak for women was around 7-8 units a week.
On assessing drinking frequency, the team found that daily/almost daily drinking was most common in middle and old age – particularly among older men, with more than 50% of men aged 65 and older drinking every day or almost every day.
While teenagers and young adults were found to have higher overall alcohol consumption, their drinking was most likely to occur over 1 or 2 days a week. Women were more likely than men to drink monthly or only on special occasions.