Almost one in four adults are at risk of damaging their health through excessive alcohol consumption, according to new data, with cut-price offers on booze again under the spotlight.

A third of men and a sixth of women are drinking at a level that puts them at risk of physical or psychological harm, NHS research for 2007 suggests.

However, the proportion of men showing signs of alcohol dependence fell marginally between 2000 and 2007, from 11.5% to 9%. The number of women with the same level of dependence was unchanged at 4%.

“As alcohol has become more affordable, fuelled by the growth of irresponsible low-cost sales, the population as a whole is drinking more and this is having a massive impact on the nation's health,” said Alcohol Concern chief executive Don Shenker.

“These figures show that alcohol misuse is one of the most serious public health problems facing the UK.”