Smaller alcohol measures could reduce drink-related deaths
New research published by universities in Liverpool and Sheffield has found that smaller alcohol measures could lead to 1,400 fewer alcohol-related deaths in the UK.
The findings, published in the Addiction journal, highlight the potential benefits of reducing the standard serving size of alcoholic drinks in the UK.
Researchers from the two UK-based universities observed the drinking habits of participants both at home and in a pub to see what impact a reduced serving size would have.
The researchers found that participants who were served smaller measures drank less alcohol in a single drinking session than participants who were given standard servings.
Based on their results, the researchers estimated that reducing the standard serving size in bars and restaurants by a quarter could lead to 1,400 fewer deaths and 73,000 fewer hospital admissions every year.
Dr Inge Kersbergen, who led the study, said: “The typical serving size of beer in the UK of a pint is larger than many other countries and the size of wine servings in UK bars and restaurants has increased in recent decades, so there is room for serving sizes to be reduced without making them unrealistically small.
“Reducing the standard serving size of alcohol in bars and restaurants may be an effective way to reduce alcohol consumption at the population level and improve public health.”
Two experiments were carried out as part of the study. The first saw participants consume alcohol from either standard or reduced serving sizes whilst watching TV in a laboratory that was made to look like a living room.
In the second study, participants were invited to one of four pub quiz nights in a local bar that only sold standard or reduced serving sizes. Drink prices were adjusted to make sure that the varying serving sizes were the same value for money and researchers observed how much alcohol each participant drank.
In the first study, reduced serving sizes led to a 20.7%-22.3% decrease in alcohol consumption, while the second study saw consumption reduce by 32.4%-39.6%.
Professor Matt Field, a University of Liverpool researcher involved in the study, said: “Reducing the standard serving size of alcoholic drinks could automatically prompt people to drink less, even if they are not motivated to cut down. But at the same time, the total amount that people consume would remain completely their own choice.”