A new study has found that teenage girls in Britain are among the heaviest drinkers in Europe, overtaking their male counterparts for the first time. At the same time though, teens are drinking way less than generations before them.
A study for World Health Organisation found that teen girls in England, Scotland and Wales are in the top six places for binge drinking of 36 European nations. It also deduced that young girls in the UK are now more likely than boys the same age to get drunk.
This comes amid rising issues with anxiety and self-harm in young women; a quarter of UK 14-year-old girls have self-harmed, a report found this summer.
Led by University of St Andrews, the research compared drinking habits of 15-year-olds between 2002 and 2014. It had also discovered British boys’ drinking had fallen so much that it had immensely improved the country’s ranking on European league tables. The proportion of drunk teens had fallen in most nations studied too. In 2002, 54.7 per cent of English girls had gotten drunk twice in a week, in 2014 those numbers had fallen to 30.9 per cent. Rates of smoking and drinking among British teens had dropped to it's lowest record, as Dazed found in 2016.
Despite the decline, teenage girls in the UK still remain at being some of the top groups among Europe’s underage drinkers – Denmark is ranked first, with Wales second.
Dr Jo Inchley, assistant director at St Andrew’s Child and Adolescent Health Research Unit, told the Telegraph: “We don’t know why we are seeing these gender differences, in some ways it is surprising because girls tend to respond more to health messages than boys do. We do know that mental health issues are a big concern among adolescent girls, and coping could be one of the reasons why girls are binge drinking.”