Published Mon, 2010-10-18 15:12; updated 34 weeks ago.
Large parts of Birmingham are fast becoming an alcohol-free zone for women.
More than 2,200 women have so far signed up to the ‘3 Days Booze Free’ challenge which was launched in September by NHS Birmingham East and North.
The challenge is for women aged 35 and above to have three days a week completely free of alcohol - beer, wine or spirits.
The campaign, which will last for an initial three months, kicked off with teams of health staff going out onto the streets of Birmingham to sign people up.
And it sought to tempt women into giving up the booze for at least three days a week by offering them recipes for mouthwatering non-alcoholic cocktails, known as mocktails, which included such tantalising names as The Real Shirley Temple, comprising grenadine, ginger ale and lemon to garnish.
A spokesman for the campaign said: “Mocktails are a fresh replacement to the regular alcoholic drink and many of them can be good for general health and skin, too.
“So we’re trying to encourage people to get creative, experiment and enjoy the health benefits of taking a few days off the booze.”
Women who sign up to the scheme will receive a ‘challenge pack’ containing information and advice on how to success, such as tips on how to enjoy an evening without alcohol and a chart enabling them to record their progress.
Nicola Benge, director of health improvement at NHS Birmingham East and North, said: “Recent research shows that drinking every day, even in small amounts, can significantly increase the risk of liver disease.
“So having three days every week without alcohol reduces the risk of serious harm, as well as leaving you feeling healthier in the short-term.”
She added: “It’s the kind of challenge that might work well if women sign up in groups – the community spirit often helps with these things!”
Drinking alcohol inevitably puts a strain on the liver so every day without booze gives it time to recover.
And unless the liver is given that time off, it can start to suffer under the strain, and that can lead to serious liver disease such as cirrhosis, which can be fatal.
The three day challenge is also designed to make it easier to stay within the safe drinking limits recommended by health professionals, which amounts to 21 units per week for men and 14 for women.