Health professionals across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are helping to highlight the benefits of taking part in Dry January, which include improving health, losing weight and saving money.
Dry January is an annual event run by charity Alcohol Change UK, which challenges people to stop drinking alcohol for one month. More than four million people signed up to take a month off drinking alcohol in January 2019; with one in ten drinkers planning to take part this year.
People in the South West are estimated to spend an average of £15.40 per week on alcoholic drinks and those in Bristol and North Somerset are around 50% more likely to have a prescription for the treatment of alcohol dependence compared to the rest of the country.
Dr Marion Steiner, local GP with a specialist interest in self-care, explains more about Dry January and the benefits of taking part in the challenge:
After over-indulging during the festive season, many people will be thinking about how they can live a healthier lifestyle. Taking part in Dry January presents the perfect opportunity to reset your relationship with alcohol and could be your route to happier and healthier drinking in the long-term.
A month away from alcohol has been shown to help people lose weight, save money and have better sleep. Taking part in Dry January can also improve your health by lowering blood pressure and improving insulin resistance to reduce your chance of developing diabetes. Reducing your alcohol intake may even help to reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer.
There is also evidence that taking a month off alcohol may help you drink more healthily all year round, with many Dry January participants still drinking less six months after taking part.
Research published on Dry January participants has found that:
- 88% saved money
- 71% slept better
- 58% lost weight
- blood pressure significantly decreased
- levels of cancer-related proteins in the blood decreased
- risk of developing diabetes decreased.
More details on Dry January, including the Dry January app and how to sign up can be found on the Alcohol Change UK website.
If you drink very heavily or regularly, Dry January may not be for you, so check with your GP or local alcohol service before you start.