We are well aware that year end activities and the Christmas holiday is usually a time of excess in many areas including spending, food and alcohol. In our country access to alcohol is very easy for all ages and often it is absolutely free. The effects of alcohol on health, wellness, productivity, emotional and social wellbeing can be devastating. Following this time of excess, The Healthy Bahamas Coalition will join with the international health community and host the Dry January 2019 Campaign which will run from January 1 – January 31, 2019. The goal of the campaign is to reduce the harmful effects of alcohol consumption.
In the Bahamas, we have a significant problem with excess alcohol consumption. The age of initiation of alcohol is young, with 85.9% of teenagers having had their first drink before 14 years old (M84.6%, F87.5%) as published in the 2013 Global School-based Student Health Survey for The Bahamas. The study further revealed that access to alcohol is most often at home, however teens are also able to freely purchase alcohol in the community. Almost 30% of teens 13 – 15 drank at least one alcoholic drink in the past 30 days while 21.1% of those who drank, drank enough to get drunk.
Alcohol consumption in the adult population is also of grave concern. 73.9% of Bahamians have consumed alcohol in their lifetime and the adult population consumes alcohol on a regular basis. Alcohol consumption per capita in female and males 15 years and older was 9 and 14.9 litres respectively. Some 21.2% of men and 12.2% of women admitted to engaging in heavy episodic drinking in the past 30 days. Road Traffic Accidents Alcohol–Attributable Fraction (AAF) for males and females in 2012 was 4.9% and 1.7% respectively, per 100,000 population 15 years and older. Young men 12-24 years old who did not complete secondary education and are unemployed are the highest group engaging in risky drinking behaviours.
Further, excess alcohol consumption increases the risk of injuries, damage to unborn babies and Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, liver disease, stroke, and a number of cancers.
The Healthy Bahamas Coalition (HBC) is a national non-profit, health advocacy organization which was officially launched on 19th January, 2017. The Mission of the HBC is to harness the power of civil society, in collaboration with government, private enterprise, academia, and international partners, in the development and implementation of plans for health promotion and the prevention of non-communicable diseases among persons residing in the Bahamas. In keeping with the HBC mission, Dry January is an annual international movement where millions of people give up and abstain from alcohol for the month of January. It is often a part of a New Year’s resolution to drink less and to "detox" from excessive drinking over the holidays.
Over the years, millions have attempted and completed the Dry January challenge. The benefits of completing the challenge are many and include:
Participating in Dry January enables participants to drive the conversation about alcohol, examine and take control of their overall relationship with alcohol.
We invite everyone who drinks alcohol and may need to revisit or take a break from their drinking to commit to and participate in this challenge.
We invite those who want to participate to:
The HBC Alcohol subcommittee is available to provide educational presentations and materials on Alcohol to your groups and worksites if needed. An Alcohol resource list is also available for those who may wish to seek more formal help for alcohol dependence or abuse or to talk to someone about their drinking and its impact on their family and life. To register yourself or your worksite or to schedule a presentation, contact Mrs Natasha Gay at the HBC Secretariat at 397-1029, or 502-4862
Together we can promote a healthy alcohol-free lifestyle for all Bahamians.
Take the Quiz to see fi your consumption of alcohol is risky!!
If you scored 9-17 points or 20-39% you are a low risk consumer of alcohol. Keep up the good work!
If you scored 18-26 points or 40-59%, you are a medium-risk consumer of alcohol nd should consider reducing the amount of alcohol and/or frequency at which you consume alcohol.
If you scored 27-45 points or 62% and higher, you are a high-risk consumer of alcohol and should seek immediate help to help you reduce your alcohol consumption. Your health, and your life, is at-risk.