Home > Short-term effects of announcing revised lower risk national drinking guidelines on related awareness and knowledge: a trend analysis of monthly survey data in England.

Holmes, John and Brown, Jamie and Meier, Petra and Beard, Emma and Michie, Susan and Buykx, Penny [BMJ Open] . (2016) Short-term effects of announcing revised lower risk national drinking guidelines on related awareness and knowledge: a trend analysis of monthly survey data in England. London: BMJ Publishing. BMJ Open, 6 (e013804) 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-013804

URL: http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/12/e013804.full

Objectives: To evaluate short-term effects of publishing revised lower risk national drinking guidelines on related awareness and knowledge. To examine where drinkers heard about guidelines over the same period.

Design: Trend analysis of the Alcohol Toolkit Study, a monthly repeat cross-sectional national survey.
Setting: England, November 2015 to May 2016.
Participants: A total of 11 845 adults (18+) living in private households in England.
Intervention: Publication of revised national drinking guidelines in January 2016 which reduced the male guideline by approximately one-third to 14 units per week.

Measurements: Whether drinkers (1) had heard of drinking guidelines (awareness), (2) stated the guideline was above, exactly or below 14 units (knowledge) and (3) reported seeing the stated guideline number of units in the last month in each of 11 locations (exposure). Sociodemographics: sex, age (18–34, 35–64, 65+), social grade (AB, C1C2, DE). Alcohol consumption derived from graduated frequency questions: low risk (<14 units/week), increasing/high risk (14+ units/week).

Results: Following publication of the guidelines, the proportion of drinkers aware of guidelines did not increase from its baseline level of 85.1% (CI 82.7% to 87.1%). However, the proportion of male drinkers saying the guideline was 14 units or less increased from 22.6% (CI 18.9% to 26.7%) in December to 43.3% (CI 38.9% to 47.8%) in January and was at 35.6% (CI 31.6% to 39.9%) in May. Last month exposure to the guidelines was below 25% in all locations except television/radio where exposure increased from 33% (CI 28.8% to 36.2%) in December to 65% (CI 61.2% to 68.3%) in January. Awareness and knowledge of guidelines was lowest in social grade DE and this gap remained after publication.

Conclusions: Publication of new or revised lower risk drinking guidelines can improve drinkers’ knowledge of these guidelines within all sociodemographic groups; however, in the absence of sustained promotional activity, positive effects may not be maintained and social inequalities in awareness and knowledge of guidelines are likely to persist.


Item Type:Evidence resource
Drug Type:Alcohol
Intervention Type:AOD disorder harm reduction
Source:BMJ Open
Date:December 2016
Publisher:BMJ Publishing
Place of Publication:London
Volume:6
Number:e013804
EndNote:View
Subjects:A Substance use, abuse, and dependence > Prevalence > Substance use behaviour > Alcohol consumption
B Substances > Alcohol
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Substance use prevention > Substance use harm reduction
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Health related prevention > Health information and education
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Policy > Policy on substance use > Harm reduction policy
N Communication, information and education > Information use and impact
N Communication, information and education > Information transfer > Information transfer from research to practice
VA Geographic area > Europe > United Kingdom > England

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