Find us on Facebook

alcohol health alliance uk

Sunderland urged to choose less booze

Posted 19/02/13

Sunderland shoppers, city centre workers and other passers-by will be encouraged to think about alcohol and their health by a team of Freerunners in brightly coloured Morph Suits today (Tuesday).

The Freerunners, wearing coloured Lycra suits to resemble the characters in the Government’s Change4Life campaign, will be performing acrobatic flips, press ups, star jumps and fitness routines to highlight the health benefits of drinking less alcohol.

The unusual approach is being taken by Balance, the North East alcohol office, to draw attention to the health harms associated with drinking too much and to help people understand how alcohol units can sneak up on them.

Members of the Balance team will also be demonstrating the Change4Life drinks tracker app, which helps users to tot up their units, calorie intake and the financial cost of their drinking, and encouraging people to download the app to their own devices.

Research shows that currently only 16% of North Easterners are keeping check on their units and alcohol consumption.

Shoppers will also have the opportunity to make their own alcohol-related pledge, such as to take two days off a week, always use an alcohol measure when pouring or log alcoholic drinks on their drinks tracker app. Photos of people holding their pledge boards will then be uploaded the Balance Twitter campaign page @chooselessbooze – with or without a Morph Suited friend.

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, explained: “The on-street events will provide a lot of entertainment for city centre shoppers and we hope members of the public in Sunderland will enjoy the spectacle they will create. But there is a very serious message behind this activity.

“Alcohol is costing us dearly and is damaging the health, wealth and safety of people and communities in the North East. Too many people are drinking too much but may not even be aware. Our region already has the highest number of alcohol –related hospital admissions in England and this needs to change.

“We know all too well the impact drinking can have on individuals and communities, which is why we’re fully behind the Change4Life campaign. We also know that, while many people in the North East are aware of the horrific health harms associated with alcohol, they are often unaware of the actual amount of units they’re drinking on a weekly basis, which can all too easily add up and take them over guideline limits.

“The drinks tracker app can really help people to monitor their intake and consider the health implications of their drinking, by demonstrating their increased risk of developing conditions such as cancers, liver cirrhosis and high blood pressure. It also provides handy hints and tips to help people reduce their alcohol intake but still enjoy situations where they would usually drink.

“We hope that thousands of people from across Sunderland will make their own pledge to choose less booze and encourage their friends, family and Twitter followers to do the same.“

Sunderland City Council has backed the campaign and echoes Balance’s encouragement of the people of Sunderland to choose less booze.
Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, said:”We should all support this campaign to raise people’s awareness and increase their knowledge about the health risks associated with alcohol.

“Encouraging people to think more about how much they drink and helping them to monitor their weekly intake can help to prevent long term problems from developing. “

The Balance team will be visiting Sunderland on Tuesday 19 February. A team of Parkour and Freerunning experts will be performing between 11am and 3pm with regular 15 minute showpieces in front of the Balance stand.