Drinking is a common social activity shared by men and women. But a recent study published in the U.K.’s BMC Medicine medical journal reveals that, in general, men drink significantly more than women.
For men, the typical number of drinks climbs rapidly during their teens and early twenties and peaks around age 25 with an average of 13 drinks per week. For women, alcohol consumption remains relatively constant throughout their teens and adult years, peaking at about four drinks per week during their early 40s.
The study also shows that non-drinkers are not common, especially among men. Approximately 10 percent of the men surveyed did not drink at all. That number rose to 20 percent for men over 90 years of age.
Younger drinkers in their teens and early 20s are more likely to drink just once or twice a week, despite the much higher volume of alcohol consumed. Binge drinking and other substance abuse problems are most common in people at this age.
Alcohol consumption tends to transition from weekend binging to drinking fewer drinks most days of the week as people reach middle age and older. This is especially true for men, who reportedly drink more often as they get older, but actually consume less alcohol each week due to less binge drinking.
The study also found that women are more likely than men to drink only monthly, or for special occasions.
Another study from the University of Cincinnati showed that marriage also affects the drinking habits of both men and women. Overall, long-term marriage seems to decrease the amount of alcohol consumed by men, while increasing alcohol consumption by women.
UC researchers reported that married men reportedly drink less than their single, divorced or widowed counterparts. The researchers attributed the difference to the wives’ lower alcohol consumption. The study also showed that men are more likely to turn to drinking following a divorce.
Among women, those who are divorced or widowed reported drinking significantly less than women who are married.