‘Drink Free Days’ to encourage middle- aged drinkers to cut down

Public Health England | September 2018 |Public Health England and Drinkaware launch Drink Free Days

A new press release from Public Health England highlights how two thirds of regular drinkers say that cutting down on their drinking is harder than improving diet or exercise.

In a new collaboration Public Health England and alcohol education charity Drinkaware have  jointly launching a new campaign ‘Drink Free Days’ to help people cut down on the amount of alcohol they are regularly drinking. 


The campaign has been designed to encourage middle aged drinkers to reduce their alcohol intake by taking days off from drinking, which is a way of reducing health risks from alcohol.

The more alcohol people drink , the greater their risk of developing a number of serious potentially life limiting health conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart disease, as well as 7 types of cancer (Source: PHE).


Read the full release here 

You can download the Drink Free Days app from Public Health England here 


RCGP’s response to the  Alcohol guidelines ‘set for a reason’, says RCGP
Drinkaware’s Drink Compare Calculator 

In the media:

BBC News Middle-aged should have ‘drink-free’ days, say campaigners 

Health profile for England: 2018, current and future state of nation’s health revealed

Public Health England | September 2018 |Current and future state of nation’s health revealed

PHE has published a new Health Profile for England report giving the most comprehensive picture of the health of England today and into the future. It is the second annual report combining data and knowledge with information from other sources to give a broad picture of the health of people in England in 2018.

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It covers:

  • population change and trends in life expectancy
  •  trends in mortality
  • trends in morbidity and risk factors
  • health of children in the early years
  • inequalities in health
  • wider determinants of health
  • current and emerging health protection issues
  • Methods, data and definitions

Download each chapter of  the report from Public Health England 


In the news:

BBC News England facing ‘changing health needs’

Sky News Poorest in England suffer ‘avoidable and unfair’ health inequality – report

Onmedica  UK women’s health lags behind much of Europe


Healthy places: the link between your health and where you live [podcast]

The King’s Fund | September 2018 | Healthy places: the link between your health and where you live

The latest podcast from The King’s Fund considers the link between your health and where you live. It questionsHow do we make places healthier? Helen McKenna talks with Kate Ardern, Director of Public Health at Wigan Council, André Pinto, Public Health Manager from Public Health England and Chris Naylor, Senior Fellow from The King’s Fund.


Listen to it on Apple, Stitcher, Spotify and Acast or at The King’s Fund website 

Helping to support and transform the lives of people affected by drug and alcohol problems

Local Government Agency | August 2018| Helping to support and transform the lives of people affected by drug and alcohol problems

Research suggests that those most susceptible to developing problematic substance misuse problems are from ‘vulnerable groups’ such as children in care, persistent absentees or excludees from school, young offenders, the homeless and children affected by parental substance misuse. So providing well-funded, targeted and effective substance misuse services is vital.working together.PNG


It is the responsibility of local government to commission these and in the process, help prevent abuse in the first place and enable people to beat addiction and sustain their recovery.

The causes of substance misuse and the solutions for tackling it are multi-factorial.
It requires close working with partners,  imagination and hard work. However, when we  get it right it can have a tremendous impact.
As the case studies in this report show, lives are being turned around (Source: Local Government Agency).

Local Government Agency news item 

Read the full report here 

Heavy drinkers generate alcohol industries profit

University of Sheffield | August 2018 | Two-thirds of alcohol sales are to heavy drinkers 

A new study from the University of Sheffield’s Alcohol Research Group in conjunction with the Institute of Alcohol Studies research has  found that alcoholic beverages purchased in supermarkets and off-licences (81 per cent) compared to pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants (60 per cent)  were more likely to be consumed above guideline levels. The research findings which have now been published in the journal Addiction show that if people consuming alcohol followed guidance and adhered to recommended levels of intake, sales of alcohol would plummet by £13 billion. 

The study also indicates that heavy drinkers generate a greater share of revenue for producers of beer (77 per cent), cider (70 per cent) and wine (66 per cent) than spirits (50 per cent).


Notable findings :

• Drinkers consuming more than the government’s low-risk guideline of 14 units per week make up a quarter of the population, but provide 68 per cent of industry revenue.

• Four per cent of the population drinking at levels identified as ‘harmful’ account for almost a quarter (23 per cent) of the total value of all alcohol sold.

The research, also explores the financial importance of heavy drinking to different types of retailers and producers (via University of Sheffield).

The full news release is available from the University of Sheffield 

The journal article is available from Addiction 

Full reference: Maheswaran, R., Green, M. A., Strong, M., Brindley, P., Angus, C., and Holmes, J. | 2018|  Alcohol outlet density and alcohol related hospital admissions in England: a national small‐area level ecological study|  Addiction|  https://doi.org/10.1111/add.14285.


Alcohol outlet density and alcohol related hospital admissions in England: a national small‐area level ecological study via Wiley 

In the news:

The Telegraph Heavy drinkers fuel alcohol industry

Evening Standard Alcohol Firms would lose a staggering £13bn if drinkers in England stuck to limits, study shows 

What is happening to life expectancy in the UK?

The King’s Fund | August 2018 | What is happening to life expectancy in the UK?

In the latest piece on The King’s Fund blog, Veena Raleigh looks at how overall life expectancy has changed over time, along with considerations such as the difference in life expectancy between males and females, geographical inequalities, how the UK compares with other countries, and possible factors in the more recent slowdown in mortality improvements in the UK. life-stage-icon-2889015_1280.png


Read the full blog post at The King’s Fund 

Of interest:

BMJ  Sixty seconds on . . . life expectancy (OpenAthens login required)

Safeguarding health before retirement

University College London | July 2018 | Safeguarding health before retirement

Scientists at University College London (UCL) have identified five modifiable risk factors that influence health post-retirement. The have discovered five factors in a person’s 50s that had the most impact on their chances of becoming frail in their 70s, these are:

  • how active a person was (~6% of inactive people studied were frail while only ~3% of active people were frail)
  • their BMI category (4.5% of underweight people were frail, 2.7% of normal weight, 3.4% of overweight frail and 7.9% of the obese participants)
  • whether they smoked or not (5.4% of smokers were frail, 3.5% pf non-smokers and 2.8% of ex-smokers)
  • levels of a chemical in blood interleukin-6 which is associated with inflammation  (0.9% of those with the lowest levels were frail, compared with 3.5% of those with the highest)
  • level of a different chemical in blood called C-reactive protein- created in the liver as a response to inflammation -1.5% of those with the lowest levels were frail, compared with 4.1% of those with the highest.


Aside from social class and age, women were found to have a higher risk factor of being frail than men. Race, frailty in non-white participants was between 5.4- 8.9% vs 3.1% for white participants.  Living alone raised the factor to 5.5% compared to 2.9% for those married or cohabiting and frail.

Participants with a lower income were 3 times as likely to be frail than more affluent participants. With an ageing population, the research team anticipate that these inequalities in frailty will become more apparent, creating a large increase in older people who need high levels of care, particularly in the most disadvantaged communities (Source: UCL).