...information for health professionals

The missing link between alcohol and weight – report published today

Slimming World is urging public health officials to do more to raise awareness of the link between alcohol and weight.

Today (24th April 2014) we have published a report titled ‘The missing link between alcohol and obesity: how passing a ‘tipping point’ can impact on weight’.

The report reveals that many of us have a ‘tipping point’ with alcohol after which we go on to make more unhealthy choices around food and alcohol – consuming an extra 6,300 calories over 24 hours – and reducing our physical activity.

The average tipping point occurs at 9.3 units of alcohol – equivalent to 3.7 pints of beer or 3.1 large glasses of wine.

After passing this point people consume an extra 2,829 calories in food and 1,476 calories in alcohol the same day on average, plus another 2,051 extra calories in food the following day. As well as the additional 6,300 calories, half also cancel physical activity in favour of watching TV, staying in bed or spending time on social media. This additional energy intake (coupled with decreased energy expenditure) is likely to lead to weight gain.

Research has shown that alcohol stimulates appetite, weakens resolve and increases the rewarding effects of food meaning people are more likely to make unhealthy choices through no fault of their own.

Slimming World believes that those responsible for public health must take action to tackle this under-recognised problem and so we have made two key recommendations:

  1. For the Government and health authorities to raise awareness of how drinking too much alcohol can impact on weight-affecting lifestyle behaviours like our food and activity choices, by strengthening the links between public health campaigns on obesity and alcohol.
  2. For calories to be clearly labelled on alcoholic drinks.

The Government has stated its commitment to tackling both obesity and binge drinking, but we believe more needs to be done to increase people’s awareness of the link between the two.

We believe that implementing our two recommendations would have a significant impact on making people more aware of how alcohol can impact on their weight and help to tackle the two major public health issues of obesity and excessive alcohol consumption.

Read the full report here and if you would like more information on how you can show your support for the campaign please contact us.

We have created a short interactive quiz to help people find their own personal tipping point and find out how their drinking habits could be affecting their weight. If you would like to share the quiz with your patients or take it yourself please visit: www.slimmingworld.co.uk/alcohol/quiz/

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