General, Keeping families healthy

Around 200,000 Surrey drinkers put health at risk

Around 200,000 people in Surrey are putting their health at risk by regularly drinking too much alcohol.

One in four people aged over 16 in the county is estimated to drink more than the recommended safe limit of alcohol, which is four units a day at most for men and no more than three* for women with at least two ‘dry’ days a week.

The news has sparked a warning from public health chiefs that people drinking frequently at home in the evening or over dinner could unknowingly be putting their health at risk.

Gail Hughes, of Surrey County Council’s public health team, said: “With the economic downturn meaning people sacrificing nights out in favour of drinking at home, we want to help them understand that regularly enjoying an evening tipple could unwittingly be increasing the chances of harming their health.

“Enjoying wine with a meal or having a gin and tonic before dinner seems perfectly normal but doing it routinely could lead to long-term health problems such as heart disease and stroke.

“We’re also working closely with GPs and hospitals to ensure they check patients’ drinking habits and give advice where necessary about the risk of having too much alcohol too often.”

The warning follows the launch of Surrey’s new health and wellbeing board as part of the national NHS reforms. GPs now control NHS budgets and councils run public health, with health and wellbeing boards linking up the two.

The drinking figures are contained in the board’s first health and wellbeing strategy. It also shows that one in 10 do the recommended amount of exercise and just one in three eat five daily portions of fruit and vegetables.

If you have concerns about your own or someone else’s drinking, contact the Surrey drug and alcohol confidential helpline any time on 0808 802 5000. Calls are free from landlines and mobiles.

* A large glass of wine or a pint of strong lager contains about three units of alcohol.

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