Female deaths through alcohol have doubled

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LONDON, Oct 22 (Reuters) The number of women dying at an early age of alcohol abuse has almost doubled in the last 15 years, according to a government report today.

Around 14 in 100,000 women aged 35 to 54 die from alcohol-related incidents, it found.

The level had dramatically risen since the 1970s, when it was amongst the lowest in the EU, it added.

''Whilst the EU-15 average has been falling, premature death rates from chronic liver disease and cirrhosis in females in England has risen persistently,'' said the report, entitled ''Health Profile of England 2007.'' ''(It has gone) from the lowest in the EU in 1970 to almost the average of the EU overall now.'' The rate of admissions to hospital for alcohol-specific conditions was almost 2-1/2 times higher in Britain's northwest, than in the east.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has ordered a review of new regulations allowing 24-hour drinking, in the wake of wide-ranging criticism.

The President of the Royal College of Physicians, Professor Ian Gilmore, a liver specialist, said that government plans to review cut-price drinks promotions were welcome but much more must be done.

''To make a difference and turn the tide of rising health harm, particularly in women, we are going to need to see some action on price, promotions, availability and advertising,'' he told the Daily Mail newspaper.

''Alcohol is our favourite drug. It is around 24 hours a day and we need to examine the regulatory framework around it if we are to make any real impact.'' The report also found that obesity, especially in children, was also on the rise.

REUTERS SG RK1920

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