Bupa is warning Brits to face up to the realities of excessive drinking as research reveals that despite having one of the highest rates of alcohol consumption in the world, they are the least likely to want to cut down their intake.
The International Bupa Health Pulse survey which studied over 13,000 people in 12 countries, found that Brits are over a third (41%) more likely to drink alcohol than the international average. They are also twice as likely to describe themselves as 'regular drinkers', with almost 1 in 10 (9%) admitting to drinking 'every day' - over double the international average.
But despite the proven link between excess* alcohol consumption and a range of life-threatening health conditions, more than 1 in 3 of Brits who drink (38%) say they don't want to change their behaviour. Internationally, almost 3 in 4 of drinkers have admitted they would like to cut down.
Assistant Medical Director for Bupa, Dr Layla McCay said: "This is a worrying observation which implies that Brits are particularly resistant to change when it comes to drinking habits. Whether that is due to a lack of awareness about alcohol effects or whether we are simply in denial, there is clearly more work to be done to raise awareness of the associated risks and the real impact it can have on lives.
"Excessive drinking carries several health risks, including heart disease, stroke, liver disease, many types of cancer, and even diabetes. Something needs to be done immediately and we need to challenge the social norms – social lives too often revolve around drinking and it is important that we work towards coming up with healthier alternatives. It’s not about total abstinence, but it is about drinking responsibly and being aware of the effects that heavy drinking can have.”
Chief Executive of Drinkaware, Chris Sorek, said: "There is always an excuse to drink but there are plenty of reasons to cut down too. It can be easy to drink more than you intended, by not being aware of the units in your favourite drink or pouring large measures at home. However drinking can affect your sleep patterns, meaning you wake up feeling stressed and tired the next day.
"Regularly drinking over the daily guidelines can lead to more serious health harms including alcohol-related liver disease, which has no warning signs. Alcohol is also the second biggest risk factor for cancer after smoking - responsible for cancer of the breast, liver, bowel and mouth."
For people worried about the amount they drink Bupa hosts a free alcohol calculator available on its website which calculates how much alcohol an individual consumes and provides alcohol information and support on how to drink less.
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Notes to editors:
- *Described by the Chief Medical Officer as more than 2-3 units a day for women or 3-4 units for men
- Visit bupa.com/healthpulse for the report: 'Bupa Health Pulse 2011: International Healthcare Survey - Global Trends, Attitudes and Influences' and further information about the survey.
Bupa's purpose is to help people live longer, healthier, happier lives.
A leading international healthcare group, Bupa offers personal and company health insurance, runs care homes for older people and hospitals and provides workplace health information and services, health assessments and chronic disease management services, including health coaching, and home healthcare.
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