The life cycle of drinking

Public Health

9 Mar 2015

A large cohort study detailing the life course trajectory of alcohol use doesn’t reveal many surprises, but it does show that a large proportion of older men are drinking every day.

The longitudinal study of 174,666 alcohol observations found that average consumption for men rose sharply during adolescence, peaked at around 25 years at 20 units per week, and then declined and plateaued during mid-life, before declining from around 60 years.

A similar trajectory was seen for women, but with lower overall consumption (peak of around 7 to 8 units per week).

However frequent drinking (daily or most days of the week) became more common during mid to older age, most notably among men, reaching above 50% of men, the UK researchers reported in BMC Medicine.


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