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Britons underestimate alcohol intake

Friday February 8th, 2013

Some people in Britain may be drinking nearly twice as much alcohol as they think they are, according to a government-backed study revealed yesterday.

Researchers found that some people underestimated the amount they drink by as much as 40%.

The figures come from detailed research conducted with 19 volunteers.

Government officials said the findings reflected national surveys which find that most heavy drinkers think their intake is "moderate" - and most do not intend to cut down.

Yesterday a new phase of the national Change4Life campaign was launched - encouraging people to use an on-line app to check their drinking.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said: "I understand that people enjoy having a glass of wine or beer to unwind at the end of a busy day – but these drinks stack up and can increase your risk of high blood pressure, cancer or liver disease."

Meanwhile a second study suggests that increasing the price of alcohol can make a big difference to cutting deaths linked to alcohol.

The research from British Columbia, Canada, showed that a 10% increase in the regional minimum price of alcohol was linked to a one third reduction in deaths.

The change came about at the same time as private stores were allowed to sell alcohol for the first time.

Writing in the journal Addiction, the researchers say every 10% increase in numbers of private stores selling drink was linked to a 2% increase in serious alcohol problems.

Researcher Dr Tim Stockwell, director of the University of Victoria’s Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia, said: "This study adds to the scientific evidence that, despite popular opinion to the contrary, even the heaviest drinkers reduce their consumption when minimum alcohol prices increase.

"It is hard otherwise to explain the significant changes in alcohol-related deaths observed in British Columbia."

The relationship between changes to minimum alcohol prices, outlet densities and alcohol attributable deaths in British Columbia in 2002-2009. Addiction 7 February 2013; 108: doi:  10.1111/add.12139

Tags: Cancer | Drug & Alcohol Abuse | Internal Medicine | North America | UK News

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