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Alcohol and Alcoholism Advance Access





Published: Wed, 20 Sep 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Last Build Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2017 02:50:49 GMT

 



The Science of Absent Evidence: Is There Such Thing as an Effective Responsible Drinking Message?

2017-09-20

Abstract
Aims
To review the effectiveness of responsible drinking messages (RDMs).
Methods
We searched PsycINFO, MEDLINE and Google Scholar to June 2016 for studies evaluating the effectiveness of RDMs. Only eight studies met the inclusion/exclusion criteria. Due to a small number of search results and broad inconsistency in methods and outcome measures, quantitative synthesis was not possible so a narrative summary of findings was conducted.
Results
A review of findings from these articles suggested a disjointed approach in terms of the format and content of RDMs evaluated, as well as the dependent variables used to judge their effectiveness. An overall pattern emerged suggesting that RDMs may have beneficial effects across various outcome measures, including reducing prospective alcohol use. However, due to the inconsistent approach to both the development and evaluation of RDMs, it was not possible to draw any clear conclusions in terms of effectiveness, or indeed the potential size of any effects.
Conclusions
A systematic approach to the development and evaluation of RDMs is recommended to ensure that a clearer evidence base is established in this area, particularly in light of the substantial public funds which are often spent on RDM campaigns.
Short summary
A systematic review of studies evaluating the effectiveness of responsible drinking message campaigns reveals an inconsistent approach to message design and evaluation. Findings of the review suggest the need for a more consistent approach to aid in the development of a clearer evidence base in this area.



No Impact of Calorie or Unit Information on Ad Libitum Alcohol Consumption

2017-09-18

Abstract
Aims
To investigate the impact of unit and calorie information on drinking behaviour in an ad libitum taste test paradigm.
Methods
In this experimental human laboratory study, participants were randomized to one of four conditions, balanced by gender, using a 2 (unit information: present vs. absent) × 2 (calorie information: present vs. absent) between-subjects design. The percentage of beer consumed during the taste test was the primary outcome measure.
Results
Among this largely undergraduate student population, we found no evidence that either unit or calorie information impacted alcohol consumption in an ad libitum taste test. A manipulation check indicated that few of the participants receiving either unit and/or calorie information could accurately recall the number of units and/or calories in the beverages provided to them, indicating low levels of engagement with this information. Analysis of qualitative reactions to calorie and unit labelling indicated possible negative unintended consequences of calorie and unit information, including using unit information to facilitate consumption of higher strength beverages, and calorie information to reduce food consumption prior to a drinking episode.
Conclusion
We find no evidence to support an effect of unit or calorie information, a public-health initiative supported by the alcohol industry, on drinking behaviour. It is possible that compulsory unit and calorie labelling, at least in the numeric format used here, would have no effect on alcohol intake and may even have some negative unintended consequences among certain populations.



Modifying Alcohol Consumption to Reduce Obesity: A Randomized Controlled Feasibility Study of a Complex Community-based Intervention for Men

2017-09-18

Abstract
Objectives
Being obese and drinking more than 14 units of alcohol per week places men at very high risk of developing liver disease. This study assessed the feasibility of a trial to reduce alcohol consumption. It tested the recruitment strategy, engagement with the intervention, retention and study acceptability.
Methods
Men aged 35–64 years who drank >21 units of alcohol per week and had a BMI > 30 were recruited by two methods: from GP patient registers and by community outreach. The intervention was delivered by a face to face session followed by a series of text messages. Trained lay people (Study Coordinators) delivered the face to face session. Participants were followed up for 5 months from baseline to measure weekly alcohol consumption and BMI.
Results
The recruitment target of 60 was exceeded, with 69 men recruited and randomized. At baseline, almost all the participants (95%) exceeded the threshold for a 19-fold increase in the risk of dying from liver disease. The intervention was delivered with high fidelity. A very high follow-up rate was achieved (98%) and the outcomes for the full trial were measured. Process evaluation showed that participants responded as intended to key steps in the behaviour change strategy. The acceptability of the study methods was high: e.g. 80% of men would recommend the study to others.
Conclusions
This feasibility study identified a group at high risk of liver disease. It showed that a full trial could be conducted to test the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the intervention.
Trial registration
Current controlled trials: ISRCTN55309164.
Trial funding
National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA).
Short summary
This feasibility study recruited 69 men at high risk of developing liver disease. The novel intervention, to reduce alcohol consumption through the motivation of weight loss, was well received. A very high follow-up rate was achieved. Process evaluation showed that participants engaged with key components of the behaviour change strategy.



“We Have a Right to Know”: Exploring Consumer Opinions on Content, Design and Acceptability of Enhanced Alcohol Labels

2017-09-18

Abstract
Aims
This study aimed to refine content and design of an enhanced alcohol label to provide information that best supports informed drinking and to gauge consumer acceptability of enhanced alcohol labels among a subset of consumers.
Methods
Five focus groups (n = 45) were conducted with stakeholders and the general public (age 19+) across one jurisdiction in northern Canada. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using NVivo software.
Results
The majority of participants showed strong support for enhanced alcohol labels with an emphasis on the consumers’ right to know about the health risks related to alcohol. Participants preferred larger labels that included standard drink (SD) information, national low-risk drinking guidelines presented as a chart with pictograms, cancer health messaging and a pregnancy warning. Supporting introduction of the labels with a web resource and an educational campaign was also recommended.
Conclusions
Displaying enhanced labels on alcohol containers that include SD information, low-risk drinking guidelines and other health messaging in an accessible format may be an effective way to better inform drinkers about their consumption and increase awareness of alcohol-related health risks. Introduction of enhanced labels shows potential for consumer support.
Short summary
Focus group findings indicate strong support for enhanced alcohol labels displaying SD information, national drinking guidelines, health messaging and a pregnancy warning. Introduction of enhanced alcohol labels in tandem with an educational campaign may be an effective way to better inform Canadian drinkers and shows potential for consumer support.