The Daily Telegraph

Heavy drink­ing al­most dou­bles in lock­down, re­port finds

- By Sarah Knap­ton SCI­ENCE EDI­TOR

THE num­ber of high-risk drinkers nearly dou­bled in lock­down and was worst in groups of higher so­cial class, a govern­ment re­port shows.

Sur­vey data show the pro­por­tion of peo­ple clas­si­fied as drink­ing more than rec­om­mended lev­els in­creased from 10.8 per cent in Fe­bru­ary to 19.4 per cent in April. The num­ber de­creased to 17.6 per cent in May, but then rose again to 19 per cent in June.

The re­port showed that high-risk drink­ing was higher in men, with more than a quarter re­port­ing prob­lem­atic drink­ing (25.9 per cent) com­pared with just 12.7 per cent of women.

Al­co­hol mis­use was more preva­lent in higher so­cial class groups com­pared with lower so­cial class groups, at 21 per cent and 17.1 per cent re­spec­tively.

Re­sults from a sur­vey by Ox­ford Univer­sity pub­lished this week showed that drink­ing too much al­co­hol, poor diet and less phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity ad­versely af­fected men­tal health dur­ing lock­down in England.

Stan­ley Uli­jaszek, pro­fes­sor of hu­man ecol­ogy, said: “Lock­down has re­sulted in in­creased lev­els of anx­i­ety, poor sleep, per­sis­tent sad­ness, binge eat­ing, sui­ci­dal thoughts, al­co­hol con­sump­tion and re­duced lev­els of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity. Th­ese changes have po­ten­tial long-term con­se­quences.’

The “Wider Im­pacts of Covid-19 on Health” re­port also showed many peo­ple had not sought med­i­cal ad­vice, de­spite a wors­en­ing health con­di­tion.

In the week up to July 13, 13.1 per cent of re­spon­dents re­ported hav­ing a wors­en­ing health con­di­tion, 51.6 per cent of whom said that they had not sought ad­vice. The group who were most likely to not seek ad­vice were those aged 55 to 64.

Of those re­port­ing a wors­en­ing health con­di­tion, the rea­sons most com­monly stated for not seek­ing ad­vice was to avoid pres­sure on the NHS (58.3 per cent), con­cern about catch­ing Covid-19 (35.1 per cent) and con­cern about leav­ing the house (30.2 per cent).

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