What's your poison? A special report on alcohol in the media

Behind the Headlines

Wednesday October 19 2011

What's your poison?

Is Britain beset by binge boozers? Will wine help you lose weight? Could six cans of lager help you live longer? The media pose questions like these on an almost daily basis, often using and abusing the findings of medical research to back up their headlines.

In this special report, Behind the Headlines analyses the media's relationship with research on alcohol, the science behind it, and what all this means for us when we consider raising a glass.

What's your poison: A sober analysis of alcohol and health in the media (PDF, 3.05Mb) is a must-read for anyone who wants the facts on whether the headlines are true.

Analysis by Bazian

Edited by NHS Choices


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The 4 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

fadeinout said on 26 October 2011

Alcohol and mental health are completely over looked in most media articles and studies. Many millions of people are self medicating depression and other conditions with daily drinking which is seen as fully socially acceptable. Especially in places such as university, excessive drinking is encouraged and looked upon as a good thing by the majority of people and can be the perfect place to either hide or develop a drinking problem. People who do not drink are increasingly seen as 'weird'. Britain is drinking itself to death and no study (of which most of even the most sensational headlines are aimed at the cheeky glass of wine crowd) will change this factor. the sad fact is that very few people who drink too much or binge drink care about their health until it is far too late. Alcohol in Britain is like obesity, it is obvious and in your face and a definite problem, but until stronger action is taken it will continue to grow as a problem until we are beyond help.

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JohnHudson said on 26 October 2011

Good review, as always. Just one point, regarding the apparent protection against the risk of developing dementia given by light to moderate alcohol consumption. A number of systematic reviews tend to confirm this finding, making it harder to dismiss than the current Behind the Headlines Special Report implies. See the thread:

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John Mouse said on 23 October 2011

I thought the review was interesting and useful. My only objection is to the slightly condescending tone. For example, as a "scientist" (but not a clinical researcher) I dislike being told what "scientists" think, when what is really meant is the consensus among researchers specializing in the relevant field. Also, it seems condescending to describe the public as "confused" when the situation is that research results are inconsistent -- it's the data that is confusing.

BTW, I accidentally gave a one-star rating, foolishly thinking that I needed to click on each star I wanted to give. Perhaps no-one else makes this mistake. If they do, however, it would be good either to give explicit instructions or to allow a score to be changed before confirmation.

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chcombs said on 19 October 2011

Hi, the PDF link doesn't work (it's just an <a> tag with no href)

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