Alcohol to be brought within Change4Life campaign

18th October, 2011 by Alan Lodge

The Department of Health has released the “Change4Life Three Year Social Marketing Strategy” in the UK, which includes commitments to new alcohol messages.

The strategy describes how the Change4Life social marketing programme will support national obesity targets, as well as promoting other lifestyle changes.

A statement said: “The alcohol harm reduction campaign will be brought more fully under the Change4Life umbrella, embracing not only the calorific content of alcohol but also the wider health harms of  alcohol for adults in mid-life.”

The strategy cites “a programme of qualitative proposition research” with adults who were drinking to increasing or higher risk levels.

The key insights to emerge were:

* Such adults do not think their drinking habits are an issue – it’s just something they do at the end of the day to help them relax, de-stress and  unwind.

* They believe they are in control of their drinking – they believe they do not binge drink, they are not dependent and they believe they know their individual limits.

* Currently, this audience think the only people who really suffer poor health as a result of drinking are dependent drinkers.

* Proposition research demonstrated that the only way to encourage behaviour change was to raise the issue of long-term health harms.

From page 39, the document has a section on “Alcohol health harms”, which includes forthcoming proposals including stepping up the alcohol-related communications  by:

* Re-running the “Alfie” commercial (to reintroduce the alcohol subject matter)

* Introducing new communication that focuses on the health harms of alcohol

* Encouraging parents to talk to their children about alcohol and alcohol health harms and to delay initiating their children into alcohol consumption until they are 15 (as recommended by the chief medical officer for  England)

Beyond what is covered by Change4Life, marketing will support the alcohol health harms strategy by:

* Including messaging on binge drinking within the youth programme

* Providing bespoke information for people living with conditions (as part of the activity targeting older people)

  • General alcohol information for the public is available from alcohol pages on the NHS Choices and Change4Life websites.

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