Thursday, 27 August 2009

September is the new January

English drinkers vow to cut back after holiday boozing

Drinkers in England drank an average eight alcoholic drinks every day during their summer holiday this year, a new survey from the Know Your Limits campaign revealed today.

With the typical summer break lasting ten days, that’s 80 alcoholic drinks over one holiday; 80 pints of beer is equivalent to 227 units, whilst 80 large glasses of white wine is 240 units. The NHS recommends women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day (around one large glass of wine) and men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units a day (two pints of beer)[1].

More than a quarter of holidaymakers (27%) admitted to the Know Your Limits campaign that they drank three times or more than usual whilst away this summer.

Though many drinkers chop and change their drinks on a night out on holiday, beer lovers consumed an average of five pints a day. Wine drinkers lapped up four standard glasses of wine each day, while spirit drinkers admitted to having five mixer drinks, such as vodka and coke, each day. Drinkers also admitted to downing four other alcoholic drinks, such as strong cocktails or shots each day.

As a result, September is looking like the new January across England, with holidaymakers vowing to cut back on their return this month:

· one in five people (19%) surveyed in the ICM poll pledged to take two days off drinking a week;

· 16% planned to stop drinking altogether between Monday and Thursday;

· one in five people (22%) are generally going out less; and

· 12% are having a completely dry month.

Public Health Minister, Gillian Merron said:

"It’s all too easy to slip into the habit of drinking too much on holiday. And it’s always hard to get back into a normal routine. But we should try to use September as the new January and make a pledge to be a little more healthy.

"Our survey showed that people across the country will be making a fresh start this September and are thinking about how they can change their drinking habits to get healthier.

"Sticking within the NHS's recommended daily limits means you reduce your risk of serious conditions such as liver disease, cancer and stroke."

Dr. Chris Steele MBE said:

“Most of us want to let our hair down on holiday and tend to drink more, as we socialise most nights without worrying about how we’ll cope with work the next morning. But, it’s worth taking a moment on your return to think about what you’ve been drinking in terms of your health. Take advantage of feeling relaxed post-holiday and commit to take care of yourself a bit more.

“Cutting back on alcohol for September is a great place to start; if you find yourself drinking all or most days of the week, start by taking at least two days off each week. It can benefit your skin and sleep, and in years to come you’ll have limited the risk of the damage you’d be doing to your internal organs each time you drank.”

The Know Your Limits campaign has created some top tips for those holidaymakers wishing to leave their holiday boozing behind and get into the habit of drinking less:

  1. Have at least two alcohol-free days each week: not drinking at all on certain days is often easier than promising yourself you won’t have quite as many in the pub. Many people find Monday and Tuesday are the easiest days of the week to cut back. As time goes by and you’ve proved you’ve got the willpower, try adding Wednesdays as well.
  2. Alternate with soft drinks: there’s nothing like an exotic pineapple juice or a fizzy orange drink to remind you of your holidays, so alternate your alcoholic drinks with a soft one to help you stay in control and cut back your overall intake.
  3. Clock your starting time: if you regularly begin drinking early in the afternoon, it’s likely that you’re drinking too much. If you’re at home when you reach for your first drink, limit the amount of alcohol you have in the cupboards.
  4. Focus on next year’s swimsuit! For those of you who came back vowing to look better on the beach next summer, cutting back on your alcohol intake is an easy way to cut out ‘empty calories’ from your diet. You’ll also be less tempted to reach for the snacks if you’re not drinking wine in front of the TV most evenings.
  5. Cut down with a friend/partner: If there is one particular person you always drink with or only ever meet in the pub, suggest that you both cut down together and find alternatives to drinking for each other. Many people find this helps their own willpower and removes unnecessary temptation.

Over ten million adults in England regularly exceed the recommended daily limits, affecting their general day to day health, but also increasing their risk of serious illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, liver disease and various cancers.

Regular drinkers keen to cut back on their intake and keep an eye on their drinking after the holidays should visit, where an interactive units calculator can help you keep track of how much you’re really drinking.

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