One in five UK adults are drinking above the chief medical officer’s lower risk guidelines and more than two-thirds of these say they would find cutting down their drinking harder to do than improving their diet, exercising more, or reducing smoking, if applicable, according to a new YouGov poll.
Guidelines currently recommend men and women drink no more than 14 units per week on a regular basis, spreading these out over three or more days and having several drink-free days per week.
Public Health England (PHE) and independent alcohol education charity Drinkaware, are collaborating on a new campaign which aims to help people cut down on the amount of alcohol they regularly drink.
The campaign, ‘Drink Free Days’ encourages middle-aged drinkers to use the tactic of taking more days off from drinking as a way of reducing their health risks from alcohol, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, seven types of cancer and obesity. It focuses on setting simple, achievable targets using the Drink Free Days app, available from nhs.uk/oneyou/apps, which allows users to track their drinking habits and receive practical daily support.
Commenting on the campaign, Duncan Selbie, PHE chief executive, said: “About 10 million people in England are drinking in ways that increases the risks and many are struggling to cut down. Setting yourself a target of having more drink free days every week is an easy way to drink less and reduce the risks to your health.”
The campaign’s launch comes as a new World Health Organization report reveals that the United Kingdom is the third most obese European nation. The research found that the percentage of the UK population who are obese (27.8 per cent) is lower only than that of Turkey, at 32.1 per cent, and Malta, at 28.9 per cent. A major contributing factor to this is alcohol consumption, according to report author Dr Claudia Stein, and statistics show that UK adults drink 24 per cent more alcohol than the European average.