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New unit measurement for alcohol, binge drinking down

A new calculation method for alcohol consumption has been released to reflect larger measures and stronger alcoholic drinks, especially in wine.

The revamped unit guide, released by the Office for National Statistics, calculates a small glass of 12.5% wine as 1.5 units, a medium glass of 12.5% wine as 2 units and a 75cl bottle of wine as 9 units.

The number of units in a medium glass of wine using the new guidelines has doubled from one unit to two.

The maximum recommended units per week is 21 for men and 14 for women.

The report, released yesterday from the Office of National Statistics, highlights the continual trend of declining alcohol consumption, indicating that the British public are responding to the message about responsible drinking.

Commenting on the report, Jeremy Beadles, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said: ‘Long-term trends on alcohol consumption continue to improve. It is clear that the vast majority of people drink sensibly and should not be punished for the sins of the minority.’

The report also showed that binge drinking in the UK had dropped, with fewer men and women exceeding their weekly recommended units than in recent years. The proportion of men drinking more than 21 units fell from 29% in 2000 to 23% in 2006.

Knowledge of alcohol units remains high, with 85% of men and women aware of measuring alcohol consumption in units.

The change in how alcohol consumption estimates are derived however, does not in iteself reflect a real change in adult drinking trends.

Written by Lucy Shaw

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