Did you know? More than 1 in 10 Australian women are endangering their long-term health with the amount of alcohol they drink. The age group most at risk? 55-64.
"It may be surprising to many people that women in their 50s are drinking at such risky levels," says Jean Hailes dietitian Terrill Bruere, "but this is a busy time for many women and it's easy to fall into the habit of having a glass of wine (or three) in the evening to help unwind."
What few women realise is that one 200ml glass of wine is two -standard drinks' – the most you should drink in any one sitting, according to the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). It also contains around 550 kJ of energy – more than a can of lemonade.
If you have more than two -standard drinks' per day, and if you don't regularly have days with no alcohol at all, you're putting yourself at risk of liver damage, certain cancers (including breast cancer), weight gain, depression, dementia and alcohol dependence.
To tie in with the FebFast campaign (www.febfast.org.au), Jean Hailes has compiled 10 tips that could help you break bad habits:
1. Do an -audit' of your alcohol habits – examine what, when and why you're drinking
2. Find other ways to relax or socialise – e.g. walking or talking with a friend
3. Make special non-alcoholic drinks – e.g. fresh juice and berries mixed with mineral water, ice and mint – and serve in a favourite wine/champagne glass
4. Start a night out with a non-alcoholic drink and make every other drink a non-alcoholic one
5. Try low-alcohol drinks
6. Avoid or spend less time in places where you know you find it hard to say 'no"
7. Try mixing with friends who don't drink
8. Volunteer to be the -designated driver'
9. Learn to make choices about what and when you drink, and do it in moderation
10. Remember – small changes can have a big impact on your health
You can find a full guide to alcohol content of standard drinks, a questionnaire to help you assess your own drinking habits, and tips to help you make a healthy change at www.healthforwomen.org.au/health-issues/alcohol
Data source: Australian Health Survey 2011-13, First results (ABS 2012)
Published with the permission of the Jean Hailes Foundation for Women's Health
Tollfree number 1800 JEAN HAILES (532 642) for women seeking further health information www.JeanHailes.org.au