UK Government

Department of Health: Track your festive drinking with your mobile

Press Release   •   Dec 01, 2009 09:43 GMT

A new mobile phone application that helps people to keep track of their drinking during the festive period was launched today by Public Health Minister Gillian Merron.

To coincide with the start of the Christmas period, the Department of Health has released the first official alcohol tracker application for mobile phones. Available from iTunes and www.nhs.uk it helps people to:

·        Work out how many alcoholic units there are in a glass of wine or pint of beer for example;
·        See how much alcohol they have consumed over a set period, such as a week or month; 
·        Get personalised feedback on their drinking habits; 
·        Find local NHS clinics and advice centres.

A recent industry-led report predicted by the end of 2009 44 per cent of mobile phones users will have access to the internet via their handset.

Public Health Minister Gillian Merron said:

“It is all too easy to lose track of how much you drink. So as the festive parties start to build up, this innovative tool will help people keep tabs on their drinking – wherever they are.

“It’s one of many ways the Government is helping people to understand how much they are drinking. Sticking within the NHS recommended limits means you reduce the risk of serious conditions such as mouth cancer and strokes.”

Chief Executive of Drinkaware Chris Sorek said:

“Efforts to help people keep track of how much they’re drinking over the festive season and throughout the year are a good idea.  Trying to stick within the daily unit guidelines will help people avoid the January slump and the long term health implications associated with drinking too much alcohol.”

For those that do not have a smartphone, they can text the word ‘UNIT’ to ‘64746’ to receive information on NHS Choices alcohol units calculator.

Alcohol misuse costs the NHS £2.7 billion each year.  The NHS advice for ‘lower-risk’ drinking is that men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units a day, and 2-3 units a day for women. Men who regularly drink more than eight units a day (about three pints of lager) and women who regularly drink more than six units a day (about two large glasses of wine) are considered by the NHS to be at 'higher risk' of harming their health. Both are more than five times more likely than non-drinkers to suffer mouth cancer and more than three times more likely to have a stroke.

Notes to editors

1.      The application can be found at: http://www.nhs.uk/Tools

2.      The table below gives the types of mobile phones people use to access NHS information on the internet via their mobile phone:

·        iPhone – 61%
·        iPod touch – 17%
·        Nokia 5800 – 2.75%
·        Nokia e71 – 2.11%
·        Blackberry – 4%

3.   NHS website includes information on alcohol related health issues including advice on cutting down and finding alcohol services in your area: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/alcohol/Pages/Alcoholhome.aspx

4.   The Government is investing approximately £9 million in the 'Know Your Limits campaign' which arms people with the facts about the number of units in different drinks. More information is also available at the Know Your Limits website: www.nhs.uk/units

Contacts

NDS Enquiries
Phone: For enquiries please contact the above department
ndsenquiries@coi.gsi.gov.uk