They found in England emergency admissions almost doubled from 1,875 to 3,496, an average annual increase of 7.2 per cent, faster than the New Zealand increase of 5.5 per cent per year. The study is published in the journal Rheumatology.
Anthony James, professor of neuro-rheumatology at Manchester University, told The Independent: "Essentially, gout is increasing because of bad habits.
"We drink too much, eat the wrong food, do little exercise and are overweight."
Only a "small number" of gout patients were thin, he said.
Alcohol - and particularly beer - is a problem because it boosts the production of uric acid in the liver, and reduces how much is passed out in urine.
Gout now affects about one in 70 adults, more commonly men. A recently published article indicates eating cherries or drinking cherry juice can help reduce gout attacks.