Middle-aged drinkers in the UK are being urged to have alcohol-free days as part of a new drive to improve health, the UK's public health agency said Monday.
A YouGov poll has found that one in five of UK adults are drinking above the low risk drinking guidelines, Public Health England (PHE) said in a statement.
More than two thirds of these say they would find cutting down on their drinking harder to do than one or more other lifestyle changes - improving their diet, exercising more, or reducing their smoking, if they were smokers.
PHE and alcohol education charity Drinkaware jointly launched a new campaign 'Drink Free Days' to help people cut down on the amount of alcohol they are regularly drinking.
The campaign will be encouraging middle-aged drinkers to use the tactic of taking more days off from drinking as a way of reducing their 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 seven types of cancer, PHE said.
Regular drinking also increases the amount of calories consumed and can contribute to weight gain and obesity, the statement said.
Evidence from behavioural science suggests that simple and easy ways of helping people to change their behaviour are the most effective, which is why Drinkaware and PHE have chosen to focus on Drink Free Days, it said.
Pre-campaign research also found that the concept resonated strongly with people and was seen as clear to follow, positive and achievable.
"Many of us enjoy a drink1but whether it's a few in the pub after work a couple of times a week, some beers on the sofa watching the football or regular wine with our dinner -- it's all too easy to let our drinking creep up on us," said Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive at PHE.
"While the link with liver disease is well known, many people are not aware that alcohol can cause numerous other serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease as well as several cancers," Selbie said.
It's also an easy way to pile on the pounds, the statement added.