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Press Release 2020health welcomes documentary shining light on hidden risky drinking

The leading health think-tank, 2020Health, comments on BBC Panorama programme having recently published a breakthrough report on so called “risky drinkers” – middle class professionals inadvertently drinking dangerous amounts of alcohol.

For immediate release
19 Feb 2012


RE: BBC Panorama Programme with Alistair Campbell

2020health welcomes documentary shining light on hidden risky drinking


Health think-tank has published a major report on dangers of alcohol and risks to middle class drinkers.


The report focused on middle class couples sharing a bottle of wine most evenings over dinner, who have unwittingly becoming "risky drinkers." Such people have significantly increased their susceptibility to killer disease such as cancer and stroke, the report warned. The “risky drinkers” identified rarely get drunk, never binge drink and are not dependent on alcohol, but they are still putting their lives in jeopardy.

Talking about the Panorama programme, Alistair Campbell describes “middle-class mums and dads with good qualifications, good jobs ... and a problem with alcohol that nobody ever talks about because we don’t really see it as a problem.”

Commenting on the programme, 2020Health’s Chief Executive, Julia Manning, said:

“I congratulate Alistair Campbell and the BBC for building on our research and highlighting this incredibly important issue. With the Prime Minister tackling this issue head on, it is encouraging to see politicians, the media and think-tanks like ours coming together to reverse the alarming trend of casual and damaging alcohol use.”

Mrs Manning says in an introduction to their report, One Too Many:

“A significant proportion of the population, a ‘silent majority’, are drinking frequently, at levels which increase their risk of health harm. There is a low awareness of this population since much of this drinking happens behind closed doors, at home in the evening, or with a meal.

“These people may not be aware of the damage they are doing to themselves, or even of the quantities they drink. They may be professionals, students, parents, even GPs themselves. 

“For these people it may be normal to have several drinks in the evening, and yet the data is clear – the risks of such drinking are very high.”

The report defines “risky drinkers” as men consuming every week more than 21 units of alcohol (3 bottles of wine or 7 pints of beer). For women, the safe limit is 14 units a week.

“A typical female risky drinker will be drinking half a bottle of wine, several days a week,” it warns.

Risky drinking is highest among older men (aged 45-64) and younger women (aged 16-24).  It is highest among the white population and in the north and east of England. The wealthiest people are most likely to be risky drinkers.




For media enquiries contact Christian May of Media Intelligence Partners on 020 300 88 147 or email


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