Men born between 1891 and 1910 were 3.6 times more likely than women to develop drinking-related health problems. A 100 years later, that figure had narrowed to 1.3 times. (Representative image) Photograph: (Getty)
Among people born between 1991 and 2001, men are only 1.1 times more likely to drink than women
Women are now drinking (almost) as much as men, says a Univeristy of New South Wales study published on the website BMJ (British Medical Journal) Open.
The Australian study compared the amounts of alcohol drunk by men and women from 1891 to 2001 – the study collated 68 international studies published since 1980 and looked at drinking patterns around the world, although its sample populations skewed heavily towards North America and Europe – and concluded that while men had historically been the much heavier drinkers, and had to live with the attendant health problems, the gap had narrowed in recent years. And that women born between 1991 and 2001 were drinking as much as men.
The study found that among men and women born between 1891 and 1910, men were 2.2 times more likely than women to drink alcohol; three times as likely to drink to problematic levels; and 3.6 times more likely to develop drinking-related health problems.
But among people born between 1991 and 2001, the study found that men were only 1.1 times more likely than women to drink alcohol; 1.2 times more likely to drink to problematic levels; and 1.3 times more likely to develop drinking-related health problems.
The reasons for this possibly include more women joining the workforce, and joining or needing to join the after-work drinking culture. Alcohol companies have begun to target more of their products specifically at women. And that alcohol has become cheaper.
The study concluded: “Alcohol use and alcohol use disorders have historically been viewed as a male phenomenon. The present study calls this assumption into question and suggests that young women in particular should be the target of concerted efforts to reduce the impact of substance use and related harms.”