Health chiefs have issued a warning amid fears that increasing numbers of middle-class people in Wakefield district are putting themselves at risk through excessive drinking in the home.
Figures released by the Government’s Health and Social Care Information Centre reveal alcohol-related admissions for so-called ‘white collar workers‘ has doubled in the last decade.
The increase is much lower among young adults, indicating that liver disease and alcoholism are much bigger problems among middle class baby boomers than previously thought.
A quarter of people in England drink at hazardous levels and the number that go into hospital for alcohol-related reasons rose by 52 per cent between 1996 and 2006.
Wakefield performs worse than the regional average across many indicators including months of life lost as a result of alcohol, chronic liver disease, hazardous drinking, harmful drinking and binge drinking.
The figures reveal almost a quarter of adults – 23.6 per cent – in Wakefield consume at least twice the daily recommended amount of alcohol in a single drinking session.
The research found that 21.4 per cent of the Wakefield population reported engaging in ‘increasing risk’ drinking, while 7.5 per cent reported engaging in ‘higher risk’ drinking.
Dr Andrew Furber, NHS Wakefield District’s director of public health, said: “We like to think that excessive drinking is in the pubs and clubs on a Friday and Saturday night but too often middle class people are drinking to excess in the home throughout the week.
“Regularly exceeding the recommended daily amounts for alcohol can harm your health, regardless of whether it is with three litres of strong white cider on a park bench, or a bottle of Californian merlot in front of a DVD box set.
“One important final message to stress is that it is not where you drink, why you drink, or who you drink with that matters - it is how much you drink.”
Coun Pat Garbutt, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for adults and health, said: “A lot of people had got used to the idea that drinking a bottle of wine at home with a meal regularly does no harm. If you are doing that every night then that will, in the long-term, store up problems for you.”