Middle-aged drinkers urged to have more alcohol-free days

Drink Free Days, which has been launched by Public Health England and Drinkaware, targets middle-aged drinkers - between 45 and 65 - who are "at greater risk to high blood pressure and heart disease, as well as seven types of cancer", according to an emailed statement.

He said: "Many of us enjoy a drink- but whether it's a few in the pub after work a couple of times a week, some beers on the sofa watching the football or regular wine with our dinner - it's all too easy to let our drinking creep up on us".

Now drinkers, especially middle-aged drinkers, are being urged to adopt a few alcohol-free days every week to improve their health.

Selbie told The Times that the health risks of drinking should not be regarded in the same way as smoking, and that "narking at people" about what they may be doing wrong was futile.

Regular drinking also increases calorie consumption and can contribute towards obesity and cause Type 2 diabetes, which affects 3.7million Britons.

It comes after a poll of nearly 9,000 adults found two-thirds of regular drinkers - such as those who drink a glass of wine with dinner every night - believe cutting down would be harder than quitting smoking.

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".

Former England and Liverpool footballer John Barnes is supporting the campaign which will be providing people with a range of tools and resources to help them cut back and make better choices about their drinking.

"It is saddening to see that widely refuted false allegations about our independence are being used to undermine serious and genuine attempts to help people moderate their drinking and improve knowledge about the long-term health risks".

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The Drink Free Days campaign will include an app to track how many days they have drunk alcohol and how they compare to the rest of the population.

She said:"Millions of adults in the United Kingdom are drinking in ways that are harmful for their health, often without even realising it".

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov.

The YouGov poll - by PHE and Drinkaware - surveyed almost 9,000 adults aged 18 to 85 during May and June this year. This included a subset of 1,847 adults who drank over 14 units in the last week.

PHE and Drinkaware will separately undertake full independent evaluations and peer review processes.

Evidence review: this PHE review looks at the impact of alcohol on the public health and the effectiveness of alcohol control policies.

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

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

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