How ‘sensible’ is the UK Sensible Drinking message? Preliminary findings amongst newly matriculated female university students in Scotland

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BackgroundCurrent levels and patterns of alcohol drinking continue to cause concern, particularly amongst young females. Effective interventions remain elusive. The aim of this study was to investigate the levels of knowledge relating to UK ‘Sensible Drinking’ guidelines, definitions of binge drinking and attitude to drink labelling initiatives amongst female school leavers enrolling at university.MethodsNon-standardized questionnaires were administered and completed by researchers during the process of matriculation (response rate 94%; n=180).ResultsThe survey revealed that recommended daily guidelines for women were not recalled by 54% of participants; 52% could not quote the unit content of their favoured alcoholic drink, whereas only 14% reported the use of the UK unit system to guide drinking. Personal quantitative definitions of binge drinking varied by a factor of 18.ConclusionA rewording of the UK Sensible Drinking message to one recognizing the needs of different population groups and their particular language of consumption measure is timely.

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