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Most drinkers who wish to cut back struggle with follow through

Many people pledge to reduce their alcohol intake in the month of January, and a team of researchers from the University of Bristol set out to determine how successful drinkers are in following through with these resolutions. The study revealed that very few individuals who attempted to reduce their alcohol consumption managed to do so after six months.

The experts analyzed data on the alcohol intake patterns of nearly 3,000 drinkers for the research, which was funded by the NIHR School for Public Health Research. Around 20 percent of the drinkers who were interviewed for the study reported a desire to cut back. The participants were most commonly motivated to drink less in an effort to lose weight, improve fitness levels, save money, or avoid health problems.

The researchers followed up with the individuals six months later, and found that those who had not set out to cut back on their drinking had reduced their alcohol consumption by the same amount as those who aimed to reduce their alcohol intake.

The study was led by Dr. Frank De Vocht from Bristol Medical School.

“Alcohol consumption is of particular concern to the UK’s public health,” said Dr. De Vocht. “We wanted to find out if motivation alone changes limiting intake. Sadly, although people start with good intentions, our results suggest that something more is required for those intentions to make a difference.”

“For people who are serious in their intention to reduce consumption, obtaining structural support, for example by signing up to the Dry January campaign, may help. Alternatively, smartphone apps are also being tested as a way to help people reduce their intake, but it’s too early to say whether these can make a difference.”

The research is published in the journal Addiction.

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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