How Much Is Too Much?
August 8, 2012
By: Sophie Hives-Wood
We all love a glass of wine or a pint of beer but it’s easy to be confused about the guidelines over alcohol and the government are finding ways to make them clearer.
Alcohol guidelines have become a confusing concept for drinkers in the UK as a lot of people are misunderstanding or ignoring advice putting their health at risk but actions to tackle this issue, such as the new Change for Life television advert, have been made so that we better understand alcohol. The advert can be seen if you click on this link: Change for Life Alcohol Advert
The rising alcohol culture, especially amongst younger generations, and the confusion over guidelines has worried the government because individuals are not taking the guideline’s advice and are drinking in an unhealthy way which could cause long term damage.
Rebecca West, a 20-year-old drinker from Falmouth says that: “I think it’s about 20 units per week for women. I don’t know what that means but I’ve heard it. I would say a glass of wine is acceptable but it’s not obvious what the guidelines are”.
The confusion of the guidelines is a shared opinion as according to NHS alcohol statistics for England in 2009, 35% of men and 47% of women have heard of units but do not know what the recommendations are for men and that 39% of men and 43% of women are aware of the term ‘units’ but do not know the recommendations for women.
Dr Sanders, a GP Registrar at Penryn Surgery, Cornwall, says that: “The government recommends at present that the guidelines are 21 units of alcohol a week for men and 14 units a week for women. A unit is meant by a particular amount of alcohol so it is either a normal measure or small pub measure of a spirit, half a pint of normal strength beer or a small glass of red or white wine,
“People don’t really understand what is meant by a unit. I think some people believe that one unit equals one drink but it’s very dependent on what you drink and how large your glasses are. The guidelines don’t necessarily reflect when those units should be drunk. A lot of people think that it is okay to drink all these units over one or two nights but the advice is different from that. They do recommend that you should have two or three alcohol-free days in a week”.
The government is now aware of this problem in society and are taking action to help overcome and tackle the problem. Everyone needs to fully understand alcohol guidelines so that they understand what they are drinking and how it can damage their bodies. Hopefully better information will help us understand it.
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