Tackle Drinking by Using the Web -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine

Tackle Drinking by Using the Web

Unitcheck, a website developed and trialed at the University of Leeds, aims to change the habits of at-risk young drinkers, giving them a quick check on the number of units they are drinking, and information on whether this affects their health and how their drinking compares to their peers.

A report of the British Government of 2007 advises that women who regularly drink over six units a day and men who regularly drink over eight units a day are in the highest risk ‘binge drinking’ category. During the pilot scheme funded by the European Research Advisory Board, lead researcher Bridgette Bewick of Leeds Institute of Health Sciences found that five per cent of those surveyed are regularly drinking at weekly levels associated with health risk.

Initial results of the use of the website show a reduction in drinking per occasion of approximately one unit during the trial, this time funded by the Alcohol Education and Research Council. A three-month follow up shows this lowered intake had persisted.

Bridgette Bewick said: “Our approach indicates many of the young people surveyed did not realise how many units they were consuming on an average occasion. The heaviest drinkers surveyed were surprised to find the majority of their peers stay within sensible weekly limits.”

Unitcheck is being rolled out to four other UK universities, and Leeds Primary Care Trust and the Institute of Health Sciences are looking at how the website could be modified and promoted to community groups, organisations and health professionals nationally and internationally.

MEDICA.de; Source: Northern Lights