Public health adviser quits over new drink awareness campaign

Public Health England is urging regular drinkers to set a weekly target of non-drinking days to improve health and avoid dependency

Public Health England is urging regular drinkers to set a weekly target of non-drinking days to improve health and avoid dependency

However, a YouGov poll this year has revealed that one in five United Kingdom adults are drinking above the low risk guidelines and more than two thirds of this group say they would find reducing their drinking more hard than improving their diet or exercising more.

Health chiefs in the United Kingdom are launching a "drink-free days" campaign to target regular drinkers amid fears health risks are "creeping" up on them.

A public health campaign is urging people to drink less alcohol after a survey revealed cutting back on drinking was tougher than improving diet or exercise.

Drinking alcohol regularly can also increase the number of calories consumed and can contribute to weight gain and obesity.

The more alcohol people drink, the more they are at greater risk of developing conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer. It's also an easy way to pile on the pounds.

Whilst people with diabetes are not specifically discouraged from drinking alcohol, some alcohols such as beer and cider can contain higher amounts of sugar, increasing the risk of high blood sugar.

The campaign encourages people to adopt "a few drink-free days" every week in order to reduce the risk of poor health.

But Sir Ian and Professor Britton said: "Given that responses to our submissions to PHE's chief executive, Duncan Selbie, have confirmed that the lessons of history have not been learnt, we feel our respective roles as co-chairmen of the Alcohol Leadership and Tobacco Control Implementation Boards of PHE are undermined and must cause us to consider our positions if the partnership with Drinkaware is not terminated with immediate effect". It's really that simple.

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'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'.

Selbie was unwavering. "We think our advice on drink-free days is easily understandable, pragmatic and sensible", he said. 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.

Studies suggest taking at least two consecutive alcohol-free days can help reduce the risk of liver disease, alcohol dependency and serious illness.

Former England and Liverpool footballer John Barnes, 54, is supporting the campaign.

This is an important campaign highlighting how many of us don't realise that we are drinking in ways that could be harming our health and how we are struggling to moderate.

"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".

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