Daily Archives: 23/07/2015

Forgotten holidays and lost birthdays leave English drinking underestimated

Researchers say English drink equivalent of 12m bottles of wine a week more than they thought because surveys overlook alcohol-heavy celebrations.  Good old drinkers amnesia – the alcohol dependents friend 😉  This would be laughable if it wasn’t so bloody serious but yes we underestimate how much we drink ……

underestimated

The Guardian reported that:

Alcohol consumption in England has been underestimated by the equivalent of 12m bottles of wine a week because surveys turn a “blind eye” to drinks swigged during holidays, weddings and birthdays, researchers have warned.

Most research focuses on “typical drinking” and does not account for alcohol-heavy celebrations, according to scientists at Liverpool John Moores University, an oversight they claim could have important implications for public health.

Their findings – based on normal drinking patterns and those outside usual circumstances – suggest every week the equivalent of over three-quarters of a bottle of wine for every drinker goes unaccounted for.

Lead scientist Dr Mark Bellis said: “The problem is that surveys usually ask about typical drinking. This means summer holidays, bank holidays, weddings and many other special occasions when consumption often increases are left out.

“As a result, nationally we underestimate how much we drink and as individuals we can turn a blind eye to our heavier drinking periods when we calculate personal consumption.

“For many people though, these sessions add substantial amounts of alcohol to their annual consumption and inevitably increase their risks of developing alcohol-related ill-health.”

Drinking alcohol is related to about 200 different health conditions and in 2012 was responsible for 3.3m deaths worldwide.

The researchers, whose findings are reported in the journal BMC Medicine, conducted telephone interviews with 6,085 randomly selected members of the public in England.

Most categories of drinkers, based on age groups and levels of typical consumption, reported increased consumption during holidays or special occasions. The biggest increase was seen in 25- to 35-year-olds, who had the highest level of typical consumption.

People in this drinking category drank an extra 18 units (144 grams) of alcohol a week on special occasions.

James Nicholls, from Alcohol Research UK, said: “Patterns of consumption have a significant influence on the health impacts of alcohol.

For instance, it is widely recognised that any protective effects of moderate drinking on the heart are cancelled out by heavy drinking episodes.”

So as The Telegraph also chimed in:

Data from these studies in England accounts for only 60 per cent of the alcohol sold in England, according to experts from John Moores University, Liverpool, and Bangor University.

Lead author on the study, Professor Mark Bellis said: “nationally we underestimate how much we drink and as individuals we can turn a blind eye to our heavier drinking periods when we calculate personal consumption.”

Shock horror meets no sh*t sherlock.   When as healthcare professionals we doubled whatever you told us you drank or smoked – well we were pretty close.  If people are under-reporting by 40% we weren’t that far off were we?  Oh boy, we are so seriously in denial about our drinking problem in this country …..