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New year, new you

January is the opportunity to start healthier habits for the year ahead. Here’s how the pharmacy can get involved.

Perhaps one of the most famous of all health campaigns, Dry January is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2023! 

Started by Emily Robinson and now run by charity Alcohol Change, Dry January is the opportunity for adults to give up drinking alcohol for an entire month and reaping the health benefits. The campaign is aimed at people aged over 18 who drink, whether that be daily or every so often. 

"What you have is a pretty average group of British people who would not consider themselves heavy drinkers," explains Professor Kevin Moore, consultant in liver health services, University College London Medical Centre. "Yet, stopping drinking for a month alters liver fat, cholesterol and blood sugar and helps them lose weight. If someoen had a health product that did all that in one month, they would be raking it in!"

A month without any alcohol has a lot of health benefits. Research published in the British Medical Journal in 2019 found that a month off: 

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces diabetes risk
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Reduces levels of cancer-related proteins in the blood.

Furthermore, Dry January is the perfect way to kick start healthy habits for the new year. In fact research conducted by the University of Sussex found that six month after Dry January, more than 70 per cent of people who take on the month are still drinking more healthily. On top of that, they have boosted levels of wellbeing. 

Pharmacy teams can get involved and download resources to advertise the event in the pharmacy via the dry january website. 

Teams can also take part themselves. Alcohol Change UK recommends that colleagues:

  • Appoint a Dry January Champion to be responsible for driving the campaign on behalf of your workplace
  • Organise a dry event for your colleagues
  • Run a quiz about alcohol
  • Set up a competition between your staff members and give prizes to the employees who donate/raise the most for charity
  • Make a pledge wall – find an empty board in the staff room and make a poster, asking everyone to write their name if they are planning to take part. Collect as many names as you can. 
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