Who drinks the most: Middle-aged or younger women?

Our nation’s most frequent female drinkers have been uncovered in a new survey out of Queensland.

A new survey has revealed the age of the Australian women who booze the most frequently — and no, they’re not teenage girls.

Women who drink more than any other age group are aged between 45 and 59, according to a researcher from the Queensland University of Technology.

These middle-aged women are consuming alcohol more frequently than younger women in their teens and early twenties — and, up to 13 percent of them are drinking more than two standard drinks per day.

Ms. Hanna Watling, a researcher from QUT’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety — Queensland (CARRS-Q), said that as women age they tend to abandon binge drinking for less heavy but more frequent levels of alcohol consumption.

Conversely, heavy drinking is more common among young women in their late teens and twenties.

What this means for women who drink frequently

Drinking frequently, but not excessively, is more likely to cause long-term damage — as opposed to accidents and violence often caused by intoxication related to binge drinking.

Some of the long-term negative health outcomes associated with frequent alcohol consumption include liver disease, heart disease, high blood pressure and increased risk of some cancers.

Ms. Watling says that when women increased their alcohol intake from two to three standard drinks a day, they more than tripled their lifetime risk of death from alcohol-related diseases.

Why are middle-aged women drinking so often?

While Ms. Watling has launched an Australian-wide online survey to find out why women over 45 are turning to the bottle, her initial results suggest that alcohol is an important part of everyday life for many — whether it’s habitual (i.e. enjoying a glass or two of wine in the evenings) or a way to deal with work-related stress or other worries.

“What we are concerned about is that those women, who drink moderately but often, may end up consuming a larger volume of alcohol than those who drink heavily but less frequently,” she said.

“Young women’s drinking has received a lot of attention and comparatively there is little research that focuses on women’s drinking habits beyond adolescence and young adulthood.”

“When we understand more about what’s going on for this particular group of drinkers we might be able to develop interventions that are tailored to their specific needs and their specific circumstances.”

The survey is open to all Australian women aged 45-59 who have consumed alcohol at least once in the past 30 days.

More for women over 45

Why I was a 45-year-old virgin
Sex after menopause
Women and osteoporosis

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