Campaign urges weight loss by less drinking

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Beer bottles © Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Beer bottles © Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Liverpool drinkers are being encouraged to make a double benefit to their health by losing weight through cutting back on alcohol.

The NHS ‘Drier January’ campaign, aiming to help people start 2015 with healthier drinking habits, is accompanied by the slogan ‘Drop a Drink Size’, which will ask people to consider the calorie content of their favourite beverages. Drinking three pints of beer, for example, is equivalent to eating two burgers.

The council estimates that Liverpool has around 40,000 problematic drinkers, with 11,000 at high risk of harm. The campaign was launched as part of Alcohol Awareness Week at The Brink, an alcohol-free bar and restaurant on Parr Street.

The Brink’s head of events and engagement, David Barnicle, told JMU Journalism: “There are so many calories in alcohol, which is equivalent to things people can understand, fast food and stuff. Everyone’s quite aware of the harmful and unhealthy nature of fast food so they’re equating the unhealthiness of alcohol, in terms of calories, with fast food.”

Mr Barnicle agreed that weight loss could make an effective extra incentive for people who have previously been reluctant to cut back on their drinking.

He added: “I think it taps into a mindset that it wouldn’t usually tap into; a lot of people are weight conscious, and so appealing to that will definitely appeal to a new group of people.”

People can sign up to Drier January on the website www.fewerunits.co.uk, for help finding out if their drinking habits are healthy and tips on how to improve.

Deputy Mayor Roz Gladden told Liverpool Express: “This is a really important issue as alcohol misuse is very important health concern in Liverpool.

“As well as the other health issues many people just do not know how many calories there are in drinks. Lots of people want to lose weight but they, perhaps, don’t realise just how many calories they are consuming when they have a drink.”

About Kieran Etoria-King, JMU Journalism