Mirror, mirror, on the wall

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WOMEN aged 30-50 are the target for an ongoing Scottish government campaign tackling alcohol.

The Drop a Glass Size initiative is part of a drive to get Scots – in particular, female drinkers – to think about how much they’re drinking, and how to cut back.

Latest figures show that 38 per cent of women regularly exceed drinking guidelines, consuming more than two to three units a day, or 14 units in a week.

The effects of drinking too much – headaches and restless nights, as well as advancing ageing signs over time and increasing the risk of high blood pressure, liver disease and breast cancer – can now be seen by downloading a Drinking Mirror smartphone app.

The government app – downloaded 364,275 times already – is free until the end of March, and shows users the significant, positive effect cutting down by a glass size can have.

You can also take the Wine Glass Challenge on the campaign website, allowing insight into how many units, calories and how much money you could save by making a minor reduction in your drinking habits and having at least two alcohol-free days a week.

East Renfrewshire’s CHCP health improvement team are backing Drop a Glass Size, and are currently out and about, encouraging people to count up their weekly units.

Alan Lafferty, East Renfrewshire council’s convener for social work and health, explained: “If cutting down your alcohol intake sounds like something that would benefit you, think about finding other ways to unwind and reward yourself.

“Making small changes to your drinking habits will make you look and feel better, and could also help you improve your long term health.”

Look out for CHCP stalls throughout the East Renfrewshire area this week – and for more information, visit www.drinksmarter.org.

There, you can find the Drinking Mirror app, Wine Glass Challenge, and the ability to make your own Drop a Glass Size chart to monitor your progress.

You can also find out more by visiting the campaign’s Facebook page, Drinking and You.

Top tips for cutting back on your alcohol intake:

— Remember, size isn’t everything. A large glass of white can contain three units – think about how it adds up when you drink more than one.

— Set yourself a drinking budget and stick to it.

— Eat before you drink – either a good meal, or some snacks while you drink. This helps to slow down the effect of alcohol on your body.

— Alternate alcohol with soft drinks or water, to cut down units and avoid a next day hangover.

— Drink water regularly while out, in order to stay hydrated.

— Keep sensible drinking guidelines in mind – two to three units per day for women, three to four for men.

— Have at least two alcohol-free days a week to give your body a break.

— Know your strength: drinks vary dramatically, so make sure you know how many units are in your drink and keep tabs.

— Cut down together by committing to drink less with family and friends.

— Keep a drinking diary to monitor your alcohol intake.