Public Health England and Drinkaware have launched a new campaign ‘Drink Free Days’, encouraging people to cut down and take a break from drinking
A YouGov poll has found that one in five of UK adults are drinking above the chief medical officer’s low-risk drinking guidelines and more than two thirds of these say they would find cutting down on their drinking harder to do than one or more other lifestyle changes – improving their diet, exercising more, or reducing their smoking, if they were smokers.
Working together for the first time, Public Health England and alcohol education charity Drinkaware have jointly launched a new campaign ‘Drink Free Days’ to help people cut down on the amount of alcohol they are regularly drinking.
The campaign will be encouraging middle-aged drinkers to use the tactic of taking more days off from drinking as a way of reducing their health risks from alcohol.
The more alcohol people drink, the greater their risk of developing a number of serious, potentially life-limiting, health conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart disease, as well as seven types of cancer.
Regular drinking also increases the number of calories consumed and can contribute to weight gain and obesity. Evidence from behavioural science suggests that simple and easy ways of helping people to change their behaviour are the most effective, which is why Drinkaware and PHE have chosen to focus on Drink Free Days.
The RCGP has welcomed the new public awareness campaign; Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:
“Any form of substance misuse can have serious, negative consequences on our patients’ health and wellbeing. Alcohol intake has been linked to a range of serious, chronic diseases including liver disease, heart disease, diabetes, dementia and some cancers.
“GPs are not killjoys, and although there is not completely safe level of alcohol intake, the upper drinking limits are set for a reason, and we would encourage everyone to try and stick to limiting their intake to a maximum of 14 units a week, with at least two alcohol-free days every week.
“It’s always good to see balanced public awareness campaigns being launched to encourage patients to take note of how much they drink and, in turn, make sensible lifestyle choices that could drastically improve their health and wellbeing.”
Pre-campaign research also found that the concept resonated strongly with people and was seen as clear to follow, positive and achievable.
This new partnership between Public Health England and Drinkaware is a fresh and bold step in our work to reduce alcohol harm. PHE’s One You digital platform has a strong track record on encouraging behaviour change; Drinkaware is an independent educational charity with an extensive reach to the key audiences. Working together to help communicate the message that having drink free days will reduce the risks to your health is the first move in what we hope will be a long-term partnership.