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Home > Reducing the standard serving size of alcoholic beverages prompts reductions in alcohol consumption.

Kersbergen, Inge and Oldham, Melissa and Jones, Andrew and Field, Matt and Angus, Colin and Robinson, Eric (2018) Reducing the standard serving size of alcoholic beverages prompts reductions in alcohol consumption. Addiction, 113, (9), . https://doi.org/10.1111/add.14228.

External website: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ad...

Aims: To test whether reducing the standard serving size of alcoholic beverages would reduce voluntary alcohol consumption in a laboratory (study 1) and a real‐world drinking environment (study 2). Additionally, we modelled the potential public health benefit of reducing the standard serving size of on‐trade alcoholic beverages in the United Kingdom.

Setting: A semi‐naturalistic laboratory (study 1), a bar in Liverpool, UK (study 2). Participants were students and university staff members (study 1: n = 114, mean age = 24.8 years, 74.6% female), residents from local community (study 2: n = 164, mean age = 34.9 years, 57.3% female).

Interventions and comparators: In study 1, participants were assigned randomly to receive standard or reduced serving sizes (by 25%) of alcohol during a laboratory drinking session. In study 2, customers at a bar were served alcohol in either standard or reduced serving sizes (by 28.6–33.3%). Outcome measures were units of alcohol consumed within 1 hour (study 1) and up to 3 hours (study 2). Serving size condition was the primary predictor.

Findings: In study 1, a 25% reduction in alcohol serving size led to a 20.7–22.3% reduction in alcohol consumption. In study 2, a 28.6–33.3% reduction in alcohol serving size led to a 32.4–39.6% reduction in alcohol consumption. Modelling results indicated that decreasing the serving size of on‐trade alcoholic beverages by 25% could reduce the number of alcohol‐related hospital admissions and deaths per year in the United Kingdom by 4.4–10.5% and 5.6–13.2%, respectively.

Conclusions: Reducing the serving size of alcoholic beverages in the United Kingdom appears to lead to a reduction in alcohol consumption within a single drinking occasion.


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