Middle-aged wine drinkers urged to have a day off booze

Henrietta Strickland
September 10, 2018

Drinkers should focus on having two alcohol-free days a week, the country's most senior public health official said as he distanced himself from the "finger-wagging" approach of NHS colleagues.

"But the more you drink, the more you increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart and liver disease and cancer".

A poll found that one in five United Kingdom adults were drinking above the chief medical officer's low-risk drinking guidelines.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, told The Times yesterday that enjoying a drink was "absolutely fine" and his advice to take dry days was a tip rather than a target.

"It's easy to drink too much by having a pint or a glass or two of wine every night, but taking a few days off is a simple way to help you cut down and break the habit".

She also pointed out that many people in this demographic were struggling with their weight, and that they didn't realise how many calories were contained in alcohol.

High alcohol consumption has been linked to a graver risk of developing serious health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease and seven types of cancer.

Drinkaware chief executive Elaine Hindal said: "The more you drink, the greater the risk to your health". It's really that simple.

'But an increasing number of people, particularly middle-aged drinkers, are drinking in ways that are putting them at risk of serious and potentially life-limiting conditions such as heart disease, liver disease and some types of cancer.

Having a few drink free days each week, will help reduce the risks to your health and improve your wellbeing.

Having a few more days a week that are drink free is a great way of taking control of our drinking and making healthier choices for the future which is why I am supporting this fantastic campaign.

The Drink Free Days campaign is part of a bid to raise awareness of the health problems associated with drinking and has seen the development of an app to give people "practical daily support" to stick to their days off from drinking.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov.

The YouGov poll - by PHE and Drinkaware - surveyed almost 9,000 adults aged 18 to 85 during May and June this year.

Guidance issued by Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer, advises that men and women should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week, which amounts to six 175ml glasses of wine. This included a subset of 1,847 adults who drank over 14 units in the last week.

PHE and Drinkaware will separately undertake full independent evaluations and peer review processes.

He said that drinking should not be treated in the same way as smoking and accepted that alcohol was "a big part of British enjoyment".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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