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Middle-age drinking slump 'due to isolation'

By Emma Clark

A decline in drinking among middle-aged people over the past decade could be caused by isolation as well as a growing awareness of the dangers of alcohol, research has suggested.

A study published this week which looked at 4,500 people over the age of 45 over a 10-year period found on average men's consumption dropped from 19 units a week to 14 and women's from nine to seven.

The Drinking Later in Life research also found men and women were drinking less frequently, with those drinking every day down by a quarter to one in seven at the end of the study. However, while women cut down their drinking following the break down of a relationship, wealthy, educated and single men were among a minority that bucked the trend and drank more.

Factors for greater drinking among this group are likely to be associated with multiple opportunities to socialise and a disposable income, researchers said.

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