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Awareness of unit content of self poured drinks by UK adults: a useful intervention tool? Alcohol Insight report submitted to the Alcohol Education Research Council.

By Jan Gill and Fiona O'May


Inappropriate alcohol consumption in the UK is linked with considerable human and financial cost and the case for effective measures to address this issue is\ud well argued. An important component of current UK alcohol policy is the ‘Sensible Drinking’ message introduced in 1995 by the Department of Health which promotes limiting daily intake of alcohol to 2 - 3 UK units for women and 3 - 4 UK units for men.\ud \ud The effectiveness of this message is partly dependent on a clear understanding among drinkers of the term ‘unit’ used to quantify alcohol drinks. Early guidance equated a unit of alcohol with a ‘measure’ of spirit or a ‘glass’ of wine. However there is evidence to suggest that among the general public some confusion exists around the content of the message and the concept of a unit of alcohol. It may\ud be that a section of the UK population unwittingly exceeds recommended daily consumption guidelines purely for these reasons.\ud \ud In this report we describe the piloting of a simple practical intervention tool. Each participant in this study was asked to pour the drink of wine or spirit they would pour at home into a glass they selected from six (four wine, two spirit)purchased from UK ‘high street’ stores. The unit content of their poured drink and their personal daily limit in terms of this drink were then calculated and relayed back to the participant and their reaction noted. We hoped this exercise might illustrate in a very personal way the volume of alcoholic drink associated with their daily limits of consumption and thereby re-enforce the detail of campaigns promoting responsible drinking.\ud \ud Data were collected during a ten day period in December 2006. Study participants were either employees of a major UK financial institution or, staff and students\ud located at an academic institution in the same city. In addition to the pouring test, each participant completed a short questionnaire relating to the UK Sensible Drinking message

Publisher: Alcohol Education Research Council
Year: 2007
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