British teenage girls are among the heaviest drinkers in Europe – and

British girls are among the worst in Europe for binge drinking, despite drinking less than previous generations, new research shows.The study for the World Health Organisation shows that teenage girls in England, Scotland and Wales take three of the top six places in a drinking league table comparing 36 European nations.And teenage girls in the UK are now more likely than boys of the same age to have got drunk at least twice, the figures show. The research compared the drinking habits of 15 year olds between 2002 and 2014.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––It found that in most nations – including those of the UK – the proportion of teens who have been drunk on at least two occasions has fallen.But teenage girls in the UK remain among the heaviest drinkers.While those in Denmark were the most likely to have been drunk at least twice – with 37.6 per cent falling into this category, Welsh girls were next, followed by Hungary, Scotland, Lithuania and England. In all these nations, at least 30 per cent of teenage girls had been repeatedly drunk – around twice the rates in Italy and France.The study led by the University of St Andrews shows that while drinking among British boys has fallen so far that it has vastly improved their rankings in European league tables, British girls are still among the heaviest drinkers.This is despite the fact the proportion of UK girls has halved over the 12-year period.It comes amid rising levels of anxiety among teenage girls, fuelled by social media, and rising levels of self-harm.The statistics show that in 2002, 54.7 per cent of English girls had got drunk at least twice previously – falling to 30.9 per cent in 2014. This left them sixth heaviest drinkers, compared with fifth worst in 2002.The position of Welsh girls remains unchanged since 2002, as second heaviest drinkers. This is despite the fact the percentage of girls getting drunk fell from 60.3 per cent to 33.6 per cent.And Scottish girls went from fifth to fourth ranking , with 32.9 per cent having got drunk twice when surveyed in 2014, compared with 51.8 per cent in 2002. The figures show that teenage boys in the UK are now less likely than girls to get drunk.In 2002, 55.1 per cent of boys in England had got drunk at least twice, but in 2014 the figure was 25.3 per cent – taking them from sixth to 18th place.  In 2002, 58.3 per cent of boys in Wales had been drunk at least twice, dropping to 28.2 per cent by 2014 – from third to thirteenth place. And the figures for Scotland show that in 2002, 51.9 per cent of teenage boys had been drunk at least twice, falling to 32.4 per cent by 2014.Prof Sir Ian Gilmore, chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said drinking habits among girls and young women could be affected by rising anxiety levels, and by efforts to target female drinkers.He said: “There’s no doubt that we are seeing young girls and women feeling increasing pressure. But we are also seeing very aggressive marketing of drinks at female drinkers, especially via social media – for sweeter drinks and fizzy drinks.”Dr Jo Inchley, assistant director at St Andrew’s Child and Adolescent Health Research Unit, said: “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.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.

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