London: A large number of young children in Britain are drinking too much alcohol, skipping meals to lose weight, and not getting enough sleep to stay alert at school the next day, a government report has revealed.

The report is based on three separate studies conducted by the UK's Schools Health Education Unit.

The first study found children as young as 12 are drinking the equivalent of 19 glasses of wine a week. Four percent of this age group surveyed drunk 28 or more units in the last week, which exceeds the daily unit guidelines for men of three to four units and women of two to three units.

Eleven percent of year 10 pupils, aged 14 to 15, had drunk more than 10 units of alcohol in the last week.

The second study found more than a third of girls aged 10 to 11 would like to lose weight -- 38 percent of girls in year six, aged 12 to 13, weren't happy with their weight. This figure increased to two-thirds of the year 10 questioned.

Almost a third of 10th standard girls had no breakfast on the day they were questioned. Of those who skipped breakfast, 24 percent said they also missed lunch the previous day.

Some children are also not getting enough sleep. Almost half of the teenage girls -- who were questioned in the third study by the schools unit -- admitted struggling to stay alert at school, a daily reported.

Some 48 percent of 14 to 15-year-old girls confessed to not concentrating on school work through sleep deprivation, a problem suffered by 41 percent of boys in the same age group.

This study also revealed the proportion of youngsters getting eight hours or more of sleep a night drops with age. It also found children are spending more time in front of the TV or computer than doing homework.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "Children under 15 shouldn't be drinking at all."

(Agencies)