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Drinkers 'underestimate their alcohol consumption'
Bradford health authorities are aiming to tackle alcohol problems as a new NHS survey reveals people underestimate how much they drink.
The survey, released today by the Department of Health, claims 31 per cent of people living in Yorkshire and Humber drink above the recommended amount and 28 per cent of people think they drink more than the weekly guidelines.
The snapshot of the nation’s drinking habits coincides with the start of this year’s Change4life TV advertising campaign to raise awareness of the harms of regularly drinking over the guidelines.
Bradford City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said tackling alcohol-related issues was its top priority and the groups for Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven are investing more than £1 million in new specialist health support.
Dr Graham Sanderson, alcohol commissioning lead for GPs in Bradford, said: “I am surprised the percentage is so small. In Bradford we don’t just look at reducing the level of consumption, we look at helping people with the physical and mental health problems that go with alcohol misuse.
“For every £1 invested in preventative services of alcohol misuse saves the NHS £5.”
Research shows across the country 80 per cent of those that drink too much acknowledge the health risks but think of themselves at most as moderate drinkers. More than 60 per cent of these drinkers have no intention of cutting down.
To get a picture of drinking habits, the Change4Life team asked 19 individuals to keep a detailed drinks diary for two weeks. The findings show those that took part were drinking on average the equivalent of an extra large glass of wine each day, or 40 per cent more that they thought.
Councillor Mike Gibbons, chair of Bradford health overview and scrutiny committee, said: “I think it is quite concerning that people are not accurately calculating just how much they are drinking and this is having severe effects on people’s health and well being.
“It is difficult in some cases, particularly when eating out, to measure the strength of the drinks including certain wines and beers, but it is always advisable to be cautious and it is absolutely necessary to stay within the guidelines if driving or operating machinery.”
Visit nhs.uk/Change4life for tips on how to cut down.