Christmas hangover bill runs into millions

Article date: 6 December 2001

Christmas parties could cost British businesses up to £110million this year because of employees’ hangovers, a newsurvey reveals today.

Independent research by Norwich Union Healthcare shows that twomillion workers will take time off from work because they’veover indulged in food and drink during the Christmas partyseason.

But the overall cost to the nation in employee absence duringthis year’s Christmas party season is down on last year bymore than £10 million.

The research findings reveal that the current economic climatecould be having an effect on people’s partying habits –over half of employees are only attending one Christmas party thisyear. In 2000, the average employee went to two or morework-related Christmas celebrations.

The study also shows that men drink twice as much as women atChristmas parties – with the average male consuming 11 unitsof alcohol (equal to five pints or 11 glasses of wine) compared towomen’s five units (five glasses of wine).

The daily recommended intake is three units of alcohol for womenand four units for men.

Norwich Union Healthcare’s ‘Hangover Bill’study also shows:

  • One quarter of working Britons drink between 11 and 20 unitsof alcohol at Christmas parties
  • A fifth of all party-goers will take more than three days offwork due to over indulgence in food or drink at a Christmasparty
  • Employees in London and the South-East take the most time offwork due to hangovers, followed by people in the North. Less thantwo per cent of employees in the Midlands ever take time offbecause of over-indulgence
  • Three times as many 16-34 year olds have taken time offcompared to 35-54 year olds because they have not moderated theirintake of food or drink

Dr Doug Wright, clinical development manager at Norwich UnionHealthcare, said: “Christmas is one of Britain’s mostunhealthy times of year. With statistics like this it is notsurprising there are so many people taking time off work becausethey have a hangover. On average British office workers aredrinking three times the recommended daily intake ofalcohol.”

“Such large quantities of alcohol in our bodies leads todehydration, the tendency for smokers to smoke more, loss ofappetite and increased consumption of unhealthy foods after theparty and the next morning.”

Norwich Union Healthcare tips for people attending Christmasparties include:

  • Eat eggs or yoghurt or full-fat milk before a party
  • Avoid mixing alcoholic drinks and alternate with soft drinks -or stick to water
  • Drink plenty of water when you get home and allow your livertime to break down alcohol before going to bed
  • Avoid drinks such as red wine and whisky – they containsubstances which can give worse hangovers
  • Avoid smoking and smoky atmospheres
  • Eat a good breakfast the morning after a party
  • Try to exercise and get enough sleep during the festive season– also make sure your diet contains plenty of fresh fruitand vegetables
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and rich food and go to bed early onat least one day a week
  • The only sure way to avoid a hangover is not to drink atall
  • Never drink and drive.

Notes to Editors
For more information or if you have any questions about the abovefigures please contact Anja Kueppers or Matthew Buchanan at QBO(020) 7379 0304 or Louise Zucchi at Norwich Union press office08703 666 860

  • Norwich Union Healthcare commissioned researchers to interview600 working adults from all over the country between 27 – 29November, 2001.
  • Norwich Union Healthcare was founded in 1990 as the healthcarearm of Norwich Union and now provides a range of income protectionand private medical insurance products to around 675,000customers. It is one of the largest providers of income protectionand private medical insurance in the UK.
  • Member of the General Insurance Standards Council
  • Norwich Union’s news releases are available on thisinternet site
  • A selection of images are available from the CGNU Newscastsite at

For life and pensions enquiries 08703 666873 For all otherenquiries 08703 666868

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