Middle-aged mums are Britain’s worst problem drinkers

Middle-aged mothers who are cracking open the bubbly to celebrate their kids leaving home are becoming the “fastest-growing group of hazardous drinkers,” according to a YouGov survey.

More: Why you shouldn’t get drunk around your kids

The poll of 500 mothers over 45, whose children had flown the nest, revealed that two-fifths of the women admitted to drinking as much or more than their adult children, with a quarter confessing they have increased their alcohol consumption since their kids moved out.

The survey shows how drinking habits in the U.K. are changing. While young people are drinking less frequently, favouring weekend binge drinking over daily alcohol use, their mothers are more likely to drink alcohol on a daily basis at home.

This doesn’t mean they are getting roaring drunk every evening but, because they drink alcohol on a daily basis, their weekly intake can soar way over the recommended limit.

Dr. Sarah Jarvis, GP and medical adviser to the charity Drinkaware, told the Daily Mail that, because it has become more socially acceptable to drink at home, people drink more than they would if they were out in a bar.

“Whilst many believe it is the 20-somethings who are drinking too much, we are actually seeing an epidemic amongst British women aged 45 to 64,” she said. “This is the fastest-growing group of hazardous drinkers who are putting their health at risk.”

More: New study says alcohol increases breast cancer risk

“Women in this age group seem to be drinking more alcohol, more regularly — whether at home alone or out socialising. Many are unaware that a couple of glasses of wine each day can cause as much, if not more, damage than the binge drinking associated with many university students.”

The survey also suggests that most middle-aged women are not aware of the health risks connected to excessive alcohol consumption: 95 percent of those surveyed said they weren’t worried about their level of drinking and didn’t think it was having an adverse effect on their health.

This probably isn’t the best news for women of a certain age as we approach the festive party season but it doesn’t mean you have to give up the bubbly completely over Christmas. Just be aware of the guidelines for safe drinking.

More: OECD study blames women for the rise in U.K. alcohol consumption