Middle-aged adults must have 'drink-free' days: UK health body

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London : Concerned over the negative health effects of alcohol intake on middle-aged adults, a new campaign has urged people between the ages of 45 and 65 to have regular "drink-free" days, that can help reduce the chance of cancer and weight gain.

The suggestions from Public Health England (PHE) -- a government agency for preventing ill health -- are part of a newly launched campaign "Drink Free Days" -- a partnership between PHE and the alcohol education charity Drinkaware.

"Having a day off drinking gives you a chance to clean your system and gives your liver a rest. It also has an immediate impact on your sleep and calorie consumption," Julia Verne, a spokeswoman on liver disease for Public Health England, was quoted as saying by the BBC.

"People have also told us that the idea of a 'drink-free' day is much easier to manage than cutting down, say, from one large glass of wine to a small glass of wine."

According to a survey -- YouGov poll by PHE and Drinkaware -- that examined nearly 9,000 adults aged 18 to 85, one in five were drinking more than the government's 14 unit-a-week guidelines.

And two-thirds said they would find cutting down on their drinking harder to do than improving their diet, exercising more or reducing their smoking.

Verne said: "Most middle-aged people are not drinking to become drunk. They see it as a social activity, or as a reward for success or compensation for a hard day at work. It has become a habit and part of their lives.

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

"Ultimately you are more likely to cut down if you have some days off drinking," she added.

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

The researchers urged people to consider that alcohol contains a lot of calories, the report noted.

Recently, a large global study by Lancet showed that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption, even though the risks associated with one glass a day were small.

Published : Monday, September 10, 2018 18:00 [IST]
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