The Public Health Agency has warned that while the World Cup provides the opportunity to enjoy the thrill of great football with family and friends, big sporting events are also the alcohol and snack retailers’ dream, with special promotions and happy hours fuelling the inclination to over-indulge. Dr Carolyn Harper, Executive Medical Director/Director of Public Health for the Public Health Agency, said: “There are real health risks for individuals who get caught up in the excitement of the World Cup tournament and are spurred on by heavy discounting and special offers on alcohol and snack foods. “Alcohol is Northern Ireland’s favourite drug and the evidence shows that the lower the price of alcohol, the higher the consumption. The Public Health Agency wants to remind football fans that sensible drinking is still an important message.” It’s not just a hangover that people should be worried about after drinking. Prolonged and frequent alcohol consumption can have very harmful effects on the liver and other body organs, raising blood pressure and risk of stroke, heart disease and cancer. Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey, also backed the campaign saying, “Like many other people across Northern Ireland, I am also looking forward to enjoying the feast of football ahead of us over the next four weeks. “However, deep discounting by supermarkets and other retailers, promotions in pubs and a wide range of advertising may encourage people to consume more alcohol than they normally would. People should stick to the daily recommended limits, and look out for each other.” The message from the both the PHA and the Minister is clear, if you decide to indulge in an alcoholic drink this summer while celebrating the World Cup remember to enjoy alcohol sensibly. People should follow the recommended daily alcohol limits and these simple tips: Do: • alternate each alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic drink, for example water or a soft drink; • set a limit and try to stick to it (refer to daily alcohol limits); • take frequent breaks from drinking to give your body time to recover. Don’t: • drink in rounds as this may speed up the frequency of your drinking pattern; • drink and drive; • drink on an empty stomach; For further information on sensible drinking and alcohol units visit the Public Health Agency’s website www.knowyourlimits.info
Contact the PHA Press Office, Ormeau Avenue on 028 9031 1611.
Notes to the editor
1. The Public Health Agency takes the lead on the DHSSPS New Strategic Direction for Alcohol and Drugs 2006–2011. 2. Daily alcohol limits are recommended by Government in order to avoid the health and social risks of excessive and binge drinking in any one session. These recommended limits are: Men: It is recommended that men drink no more than three to four units of alcohol a day (i.e. two pints of standard beer) and no more than 21 units over the course of the week Women: It is recommended that women drink no more than two to three units of alcohol a day (i.e. a 175ml glass of wine) and no more than 14 units over the course of the week. Remember, that for each unit you drink over the daily limit, the risk to your health increases. It's important to spread the units throughout the week – you can't “save up” your units for the weekend or a barbeque. Pregnant women or women trying to conceive should avoid drinking alcohol. If they do choose to drink, to minimise the risk to the baby they should not drink more than one to two units of alcohol once or twice a week and should not get drunk. Alcohol is usually measured in units. Many bottles of wine, beer and ready-mixed drinks have the units marked on the label.