The number of men in the UK exceeding daily sensible drinking benchmarks for men of between three and four units of alcohol per day fell from 39% in 2004 to 35% in 2005.
Women were less likely than men to exceed benchmarks, but 20% were found to have exceeded the sensible drinking benchmark for women of two to three units of alcohol per day in 2005.
Excessive drinking among women also fell. Only 22% of women aged 16-24 said they had drunk more than six units of alcohol on at least one day in the week before they were asked, down from 28% between 1998 and 2002.
Younger people were also more likely to exceed drinking levels than older people. As many as 42% of men aged 16-24 admitted to exceeding alcohol limits on at least one day during the previous week, against 16% for men over the aged of 65.
“We are working with the drinks industry to agree a uniform message format for alcohol labelling, promoting health messages,” a Department of Health spokeswoman told the Guardian.