Alcohol Awareness Week
Alcohol Awareness Week (AAW) this year falls between the 13th to the 19th November. It aims to educate people about the dangers of over consuming alcohol and the effect it can have on all areas of your health. This includes your physical and mental health, your family and friends and your community and society in general.
You can get involved in the discussion on social media during Alcohol Awareness Week, by using the hashtag #AAW2017.
What is the theme of Alcohol Awareness Week?
There isn’t just one theme during this Alcohol Awareness Week. The overall theme is a three-step process which aims to “drive a conversation, signpost those who need help to the support they need and call for change“. Alcohol Concern would like as many people as possible to join them to call for “better support for families and individuals suffering as a result of alcohol“. This year, Alcohol Awareness Week is the biggest ever, with 800 local authorities, charities and services taking part. Raising awareness of the risks associated with the consumption of alcohol is the first step in combating alcohol abuse.
Change in alcohol advice
New advice for alcohol consumption was issued by the Chief Medical Officers of the UK in January 2016. This led to The Department of Health changing the official recommended amounts for men and women each week. This was the first change to guidance on alcohol consumption for 21 years.
The new advice suggests that both men and women should not consume more than 14 units a week. This was a large decrease from the previous 28 unit a week limit for men, and 21 units a week for women.
This underlines how serious it is for your health to over-consume alcohol, to warrant such a large change in the guidelines. The guidance also highlighted that there is no safe level of alcohol. Know the risks.
Tips on how to cut down
The Don’t Bottle It Up website offers a few good tips on how you can cut down your drinking and help improve your health:
- Try to have an alcohol-free day twice a week
- Avoid going to the pub after work
- When bored or stressed have a workout instead of drinking, or go for a walk to help clear your head
- Explore other interests, such as going to the cinema or doing some exercise, and plan these activities at times you would usually drink
- Plan things to do with people who don’t drink at those times you would usually drink
- Have your first drink after starting to eat and not before
- Quench your thirst with non-alcoholic drinks before and in-between alcoholic drinks
- Avoid drinking in rounds or large groups
- Avoid competition based drinking
- Switch to lower strength drinks (5% ABV to 4% ABV) (ABV stands for ‘Alcohol By Volume’ and is shown as a percentage on all alcoholic drinks)
- When you do drink, set yourself a limit and stick to it
- Try collecting all your empties for a week or keep a drink diary to see exactly how much you are drinking
- Avoid or limit the time spent with ‘heavy’ drinking friends
Facts about alcohol consumption in the UK
- Around 15% of people in the UK (aged 15+) are lifetime abstainers from alcohol.
- In England in 2014, 15% of men and 21% of women said that they had not drunk any alcohol in the last year.
- In 2014 63% of men said that their average weekly alcohol consumption was no more than 21 units.
- In 2014, 62% of women said their alcohol consumption was no more than 14 units.
- In 2014, 5% of men and 4% of women averagely consumed more than 50 units per week and 35 units per week respectively.
- Between 2005 and 2014 in Great Britain, the number of men and women who were frequent drinkers (drank at least 5 days a week) fell. Men fell from 22% to 14%. Women fell from 13% to 8%.
- In real terms in the UK, between 2010 and 2013 household spend on alcohol fell by 5.7% and consumption outside of the home fell by 13.4%.
- Affordability of alcohol in England in 2013 was nearly 54% more affordable than it was in 1980.
- As an estimate, Households spent £7.80 in the home on alcohol, while they spent £7.40 on alcohol consumed outside of the home.
For more information on facts and figures on the consumption of alcohol, please visit the Drinkaware website.