Researchers have come out with a study that entreats policy makers to target older adults in addition to younger ones while drawing up health plans to combat binge drinking.
Binge drinking has been considered more common among younger adults.
Binge drinking can be described as consuming 10 or more units at one go for men and seven or more for women.
According to the researchers, highly educated British women are more likely to binge drink in their 20s but curb the habit by the time they reach 40. The opposite was seen in women with fewer qualifications.
Says Barbara Jefferis, lead author of the study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health," By mid-life, binge drinking ... (was) disproportionately concentrated in people with less education or unskilled manual occupations."
The study involved a total of 11,500 men and women, who were asked to recall their alcohol consumption at ages 23, 33, and 42.
The results showed that educated women were three times more likely to binge drink at average ages 23, than women with fewer qualifications, while by age 42 the reverse occurred; those with lower education levels were twice as likely to binge drink.
For men, those with lower education levels were three times as likely to binge drink than those with higher levels, but this did not vary at different stages of life.
So what makes educated women prone to binge drinking at younger age and less educated women likely to binge drink at middle age?
Culture differences and income variations, say the researchers.
Social drinking or drinking at work, coupled with higher incomes could be a reason.
Aggressive marketing also could be a reason as liquor makers target well-incomed professionals by creating smarter drinking lounges and using more powerful advertisements.
In the case of lesser-educated women, they are likely to curb excessive drinking at younger ages due to domestic responsibilities like getting pregnant, rearing kids etc. The reverse occurs at middle age where they be likely to binge drink due to marital tensions, financial liabilities and also if their partner drinks.
Jefferis says, 'Our study shows that binge-drinking remains high throughout adult life. It is not just adolescents and those in there 20s. Positive initiatives need to take account of the whole population.'