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Alcohol and obesity

The National Obesity Observatory has published an overview of the links between obesity and alcohol. 

Key points are

There are associations between alcohol and obesity and these are heavily influenced by lifestyle, genetic and social factors

Many people are not aware of the calories contained in alcoholic drinks

The effects of alcohol on body weight may be more pronounced in overweight and obese people

Alcohol consumption can lead to an increase in food intake

Heavy, but less frequent drinkers seem to be at higher risk of obesity than moderate, frequent drinkers

The relationships between obesity and alcohol consumption differ between men and women

Excess body weight and alcohol consumption appear to act together to increase the risk of liver cirrhosis

There is emerging evidence of a link between familial risk of alcohol dependency and obesity in women

The report conludes that although we do not fully undrstand the relationship between alcohol and obesity tackling over consumption of alcohol could dramatically improve health.

For practitioners it is one more reason to suggest to clients that they should drink sensibly or not at all.


The ‘Change4life’ drinks checker is a simple, interactive tool to help people check how much they drink. It will also give you some tips and ideas for cutting down. It can help you check how many units of alcohol are in the most common types of drinks (beer, wine, spirits and alcopops). You can choose by size, alcohol percentage (ABV) and the number of drinks you had.

About Paul Hooper, WCC (575 Articles)
Group Manager: Community Safety and Substance Misuse
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