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Survey reveals South West has most regular drinkers in Britain

PUBLISHED: 09:00 17 May 2017

Drinking rates in the South West are among the UK's highest.

Drinking rates in the South West are among the UK's highest.

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North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has warned against the dangers of alcohol after a survey revealed the South West has the most regular drinkers in Britain.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Opinions and Lifestyle Survey show three in four people (70.1 per cent) aged 16 or older in the South West consumed alcohol in the past seven days, which is more than any other region in England and Wales.

The ONS believes the trends are impacted by ‘cultural differences’ with other parts of the country having greater ethnic diversity than the South West.

ONS data shows white people are nearly three times more likely to drink regularly than those of other ethnicities.

But the survey found binge drinking is not as prevalent in the South West.

22.5 per cent of people in the South West engaged in binge drinking in the past seven days.22.5 per cent of people in the South West engaged in binge drinking in the past seven days.

Almost a quarter (22.5 per cent) of people engaged in binge drinking, with the region ranking as the second-lowest geography in England and Wales.

The CCG, which oversees health provisions in the district, is concerned with the rate of drinking in North Somerset.

The CCG’s clinical chair Dr Mary Backhouse said: “It is concerning to see that the South West has the highest rate of regular drinkers in Britain.

“Research shows having just one or two standard alcoholic drinks per day increases your risk of several cancers.

“Regularly drinking above the recommended limits will also considerably increase your chances of developing long-term health conditions such as high blood pressure, which puts a strain on your heart, liver disease, and mental illness, such as depression.”

Dr Backhouse told the Mercury the CCG and North Somerset Council are in ‘close partnership’ to protect people from the damaging health effects of alcohol abuse.

She added: “While alcohol can have a very temporary positive impact on our mood, in the long term it can cause big problems for our mental health.

“Choosing to drink less alcohol can bring lots of health benefit, both physical and psychological.”

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