Alcohol guidelines in the UK are ‘irrelevant’By Amy Hopkins
Current alcohol intake guidelines are a “poor fit” with the UK’s binge drinking habits, new research has found.
The conclusion was ascertained by the University of Sheffield’s Alcohol Research Group (SARG) in collaboration with the University of Stirling during a recent study spanning England and Scotland.
Researchers conducted focus groups to see how the government’s current guidelines are perceived by people aged 19-65 from various socio-economic backgrounds.
They found that participants largely disregard daily intake suggestions, which are deemed “irrelevant” as most people in the UK do not drink everyday, but do drink heavily at weekends.
The results also revealed that people think the recommended quantities of drink are unrealistic, as they don’t recognise that many people are motivated to drink to get drunk.
Participants generally preferred Australian and Canadian guidelines, which include separate advice to regular and “single occasion” drinking.
The study also found that drinkers do not usually regulate their in-take for health reasons, but instead for practical reasons such as work or childcare commitments.
They also said they found guidelines presented in units as “unhelpful” as most measure their in-take by the number of drinks, bottles, glasses or pints they drink.
“These findings not only help to explain why some drinkers disregard current guidelines, but also show that people make decisions about their drinking by considering their responsibilities and lifestyle, rather than just their health,” said the University of Sheffield’s Melanie Lovatt, who led the study.
Recent data revealed that binge drinking is costing British taxpayers £4.9 billion every year and policies implemented to regulate alcohol sales and consumption are “inadequate” at easing economic strains.