Washington DC: If you are successful and still drinking in your 50s, it's time to curb it down a little, as a recent study has revealed that those over 50s who are healthy, active, sociable, and well off face more at risk of harmful drinking than their less successful peers.
Based on the findings on more than 9000 responses, researchers have warned that harmful drinking is a 'middle class phenomenon' which may be a hidden health and social problem in otherwise successful older people.
The results of the study showed that the risk of harmful drinking peaked for men in their early 60s and then gradually tailed off, whereas for women risky drinking fell in tandem with age.
These patterns suggest that the current group of over 50s may be carrying on levels of higher consumption developed in their younger years, in later life, said the researchers.
While income was associated with a higher risk, but only among women, smoking, higher educational attainment, and good health were all linked to heightened risk in both sexes.
Higher risk of harmful drinking was more likely among men living on their own, including those who were separated or divorced. And it was more common among men of white ethnicity.
Caring responsibilities lowered the probability of being at higher risk among women, but religious belief did not-for either sex. Employment status did not seem to be a significant factor, but women who had retired were more likely to be at higher risk.
The researchers stated that the problem of harmful drinking among people aged 50 or over in England as a middle class phenomenon and people in better health, higher income, with higher educational attainment and socially more active are more likely to drink at harmful levels.
Researchers said that their findings suggested that harmful drinking in later life was more prevalent among people who exhibit a lifestyle associated with affluence and with a "successful" ageing process.
The findings are published in the online journal BMJ Open.