As part of the Health Improvement Commission’s Count 14 island-wide campaign, nine familiar faces have participated in a challenge where they monitored the number of units they drank in a week while trying to not exceed the recommended guideline of 14 units.
The ‘Count 14’ campaign was launched in Guernsey last month to raise awareness of the recommended drinking guidelines. The guidelines advise that to keep health risks from alcohol low that both men and women should not drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis and to spread the units out evenly over three or more days.
To encourage islanders to stick to the guidelines a video has been created documenting familiar faces taking on their own 14-day Count 14 challenge.The participants were given unit calculators and measuring cups to help accurately work out how any units they drank.
In week one of the challenge, they were required to keep a drink diary, noting what they were drinking, when and how many units they consumed in a normal week. In week two the challenge really began when they had to consciously aim to keep their drinking within the Count 14 guidelines, while keeping a video log about how they were getting on.
In the video the participants discuss when and why they have chosen to have a drink and how their drinking is adding up as they creep towards the 14-unit limit throughout the week. For many it was an eye-opening exercise, highlighting how much they drink and leading them to consider whether they could have chosen a non-alcoholic drink instead.
Brandi Attewell is a Zumba instructor who took part in the challenge. She said: “I made it through the week at 14 units. You don’t realise how many units you actually consume until you do something like this. Maybe I do drink too much in one week and I just didn’t realise”.
Ian Brown is a business owner who also took part in the challenge. Even though he wasn’t able to stick to the guideline he said: “I learnt a lot. I didn’t think I was in an ‘at risk’ group, I thought I was a light drinker, but it looks like my normal drinking habits are at about 14 per week maybe a bit over”.
Andrea Nightingale, The Health Improvement Commission’s Substance Use Lead, said: “We’re very grateful to everyone who took part in the Count 14 challenge. With their support we hope to spread the campaign’s message and raise further awareness of the guidelines.
“It’s important to us that the campaign isn’t viewed as judgemental. It’s not about telling people not to drink but rather being mindful and aware of what and how much you are drinking. Collaborating with local familiar faces, who are talking about their relationship with alcohol, helps to normalise the conversation.
“Anyone can take part in the challenge, it’s a good way to see how much you drink – it may be more than you think. To help count your units you can collect unit calculators and measuring cups from the KGV and most GP surgeries”.
You can see how the participants got on with the challenge and find out more information regarding the campaign by clicking here.