“Excessive booze benders may result in ‘muffin tops’ and ‘bad skin’,” warns Scottish drive

November 14th, 2007 - 2:16 am ICT by admin  
The new drive has picked on the negative impact of drinking on appearance to make efforts to cut binge drinking more effective.

The warning comes after a research revealed that one-third of university first-years are drinking more than double the recommended weekly alcohol limit over a weekend.

A study of 800 students at Heriot-Watt University revealed 36 pct of female students consume between 16 and 32 units of alcohol in just two night-outs over the weekend.

Though majority of students are drinking within safe limits, staff are worried about habitual binge-drinkers whose alcohol is affecting their health and studies.

The new strategy highlights the perils of hangovers, vomiting, unsafe sex, missed deadlines and debt, along with putting on weight and ‘looking rough’.

Christine Johnston, director of student welfare services at Heriot-Watt University, said the research had been carried out because of increasing worries about the rise in binge drinking among Scottish women.

“We targeted our first-years because we were trying to involve them and find out what makes sense to them,” The Scotsman quoted Johnston, as saying.

“We asked them about existing health promotion leaflets and we found they contained facts they were not interested in because they were long-term health risks, so it didn’t affect their behaviour.

“There is an appetite among young women to look at information about alcohol but these were not things they could connect with. They were more interested in calories, risks to sexual health and body image.

“Drinking for self-esteem was a key thing. A lot said they were drinking to make themselves feel confident,’ she added.

The campaign carries a week in the life of ‘Boozy Betty’ who begins her week with a few drinks at home, and ends up in town for some “serious partying”.

The results comprise of missed lectures, indulging in unsafe sex. And a “muffin top” of extra weight round her stomach and hips from the extra calories.

Due to adverse effect son the skin, she looks “rough”. The poster in the rive warns: “Don’t let your drinking define you!”

Tom Wood, chair of the Scottish Association of Alcohol and Drug Action Teams, has hailed the move to tackle Scotland’s binge drinking crisis.

“Until now I have been dismayed by the approach taken by many universities. Some encourage students to get drunk at Freshers’ Week to make people fit in and make friends. But the long-term effects are dangerous because it sets in place habits that are carried on, and the normalisation of being drunk is one of Scotland’s big problems,” Wood said.

“We congratulate this far-sighted approach other universities could learn from,” he added. (ANI)

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