Health researchers at the University of Leeds have developed a website that encourages students to keep track of their drinking.
Unitcheck encourages young people to check how many units they are consuming, how this affects their health, and how their drinking compares with that of their peers.
A pilot scheme funded by the European Research Advisory Board found people who used the site drank approximately one unit less on each occasion they drank, and that lower levels of alcohol consumption persisted over three months.
Bridgette Bewick of the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences said: “Many of the young people surveyed did not realise how many units they were consuming on an average occasion. And the heaviest drinkers were surprised to find the majority of their peers stay within sensible weekly limits.”
The survey found that about 5% of those questioned were drinking enough over a week to potentially damage their health.
The site is now being funded by the Alcohol Education and Research Council. Its director, Professor Ray Hodgson, said: “If feedback via the Internet can be exploited to improve health, then this will be a very low cost way to achieve positive benefits.”
Unitcheck is now being rolled out to four other universities. Leeds Primary Care Trust and the Institute of Health Sciences are also looking at how it could be modified and promoted to other groups.
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