May 19, 2014
With Memorial Day right around the corner, many will spend the long weekend honoring our veterans, gathering at picnics with friends and family, and maybe enjoying an alcoholic beverage or two.
Even with the best intentions, making responsible decisions about alcohol can be a challenge since it's not always easy to know how many servings are really in one drink.
By taking the quick, five-question Alcohol Serving Size Challenge online, university community members can test their knowledge of how many drinks are really in popular summer cocktails. The challenge was created by MHealthy's Alcohol Management Program and has been updated with new questions and tips.
"It's not always the size of the drink that matters," says Bethany Lemm, an Alcohol Management Program health educator. "What counts is the amount of alcohol in each drink and that can be difficult to estimate. The serving size challenge is a fun and anonymous way to test your alcohol IQ and hopefully get you thinking the next time you choose to drink."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the definition of moderate, safer lower-risk drinking for legal adults younger than 65 is no more than one drink a day for women and no more than two drinks a day for men, but not every day.
The CDC also advises that people who are pregnant, have a family history of alcoholism, have health complications that could be made worse by drinking, have been advised by a physician not to drink or are prone to overdrinking should avoid alcohol altogether.
For anyone planning to drink alcohol this holiday weekend, Lemm offers these tips to keep it in a safer, lower risk range:
• Bring lots of non-alcoholic choices, such as ice tea, water, and juice. Remember to drink plenty of water, especially if out in the sun.
• Plan ahead — before going out, set a limit on the number of alcoholic drinks and plan out how to stick to that number.
• Consider staying the night or taking a taxi home if planning to drink alcohol.
• Limit the time spent at the party.
• Begin the night with a non-alcoholic drink.
• Alternate one alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic beverage.
• Eat before and throughout the party.
• Sip drinks. Gulping alcohol is risky.
• Check in with yourself after each alcoholic drink and space them out.
• If starting to feel impaired, it is time to stop drinking alcohol. Avoid risky alcohol use.
U-M employees or their spouses or Other Qualified Adults with mild to moderate alcohol problems can get free, confidential alcohol management through the MHealthy Alcohol Management Program.
For more information, call 734-998-2017 or visit www.mhealthy.umich.edu/alcohol. This brief health education program is not for people who are alcoholic or severely dependent on alcohol.