UK: Hidden Alcohol Epidemic Among Over-50s

Alcohol use disorders among middle-class over-50s constitutes a hidden epidemic

A brand new study finds: Highly educated people above the age of 50 who generally lead a healthy, active and sociable life and are at higher risk of alcohol use disorder, compared to less well-off peers.

The study analysed  data from more than 9,000 people and concluded that alcohol use in the age group 50-plus years is a hidden middle class phenomenon.

Age UK’s chief economist, Professor Jose Iparraguirre, author of the research, published in online journal BMJ Open, writes:


“Our findings suggest that harmful [alcohol use] in later life is more prevalent among people who exhibit a lifestyle associated with affluence and with a ‘successful’ ageing process.

“Harmful [alcohol use] may then be a hidden health and social problem in otherwise successful older people.”


The Age UK research was based on data from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging (Elsa) – which gathers data from a representative sample of men and women aged 50 and over – in 2008/9 and 2010/11.


For further reading: BMJ Open Article “Socioeconomic determinants of risk of harmful alcohol drinking among people aged 50 or over in England”

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