Women catching up with men as consumption of alcohol surges in young
Women across the globe are catching up with men in their drinking habits and it is affecting their health, a new study has shown.
Researchers pooled data from 68 relevant international studies - including research in Ireland - published between 1980 and 2014.
The drinking trend, known as 'sex convergence', is most evident among young adults, the findings in BMJ Open show. They said that historically, men have been far more likely than women to drink alcohol and to consume it in quantities that damage their health, with some figures suggesting up to a 12-fold difference between the sexes.
But now evidence is beginning to emerge that suggests this gap is narrowing. Men born between 1891 and 1910 were twice as likely as their female peers to drink alcohol - but this had almost reached parity among those born between 1991 and 2000.
It said the same trends were evident for problematic use. The gender gap fell by 3.2pc with each successive five-year period of births, but was steepest among those born from 1966 onwards.
It comes as the Government's Public Health (Alcohol) Bill goes before the Seanad tomorrow with the aim of introducing minimum pricing and other measures such as segregation of alcohol in shops.
Other provisions include health labelling of alcohol products, the regulation of advertising and sponsorship, and the regulation of the sale and supply of alcohol in certain circumstances.
TDs and senators have faced strong lobbying from drinks and retail sectors to oppose the measures.
Health Minister Simon Harris said he was meeting Oireachtas members from across all parties today to address outstanding concerns.
"I understand there are some concerns and I want to listen to and work with colleagues on all sides to progress this important public health measure," he said.