The number of people drinking excessive amounts of alcohol has decreased, data from the Office of National Statistics has found.

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.