Christmas hangover bill in the millions

Article date: 21 December 2000

CHRISTMAS parties could cost British business £126 million thisyear in employee sickness as a result of hangovers, a study revealstoday.

Independent research by Norwich Union Healthcare shows thatnearly two and a half million British workers will be absent fromwork during the festive season due to over indulgence in food ordrink.

These figures have more than doubled over the last two years,and now a quarter of all party goers will be taking two days offdue to excessive intake of food and drink.

On average, workers will be enjoying two Christmas parties thisyear with nearly ten million British workers planning to go tothree or more Christmas functions.

The research also reveals that a quarter of British workers lieto their bosses about why they can't come to work with excuses suchas food poisoning, upset stomach, cold, flu or a migraine.

The average number of alcoholic drinks consumed is almost eightunits (equal to four pints or eight glasses of wine). The averagenumber consumed by males is just under 10 units (four pints) andfive and a half for females (six glasses of wine). The dailyrecommended intake is three units of alcohol for women and fourunits for men.

The study also shows:

  • One quarter of working Britons drink between 11 and 20 unitsof alcohol at Christmas parties
  • Single Britons are three times (17%) as likely to have takentime off as a result of over indulgence compared to Britons inrelationships (5%)
  • Four 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 most unhealthytimes of year. With statistics like this it is not surprising thereare so many people taking time off work because they have ahangover. On average British office workers are drinking threetimes the recommended daily intake of alcohol."

"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 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 fruit andvegetables
  • 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.

For more information or if you have any questions about theabove figures please contact Gabrielle Brewer or Jo Carr, QBO, on(020) 7379 0304, or Louise Zucchi at Norwich Union press office, on01603 684 506.

  • Please contact Gabrielle Brewer on (020) 7395 4429 for anypre-recorded interviews on Wednesday 20th December.

Notes to Editors

  • Norwich Union Healthcare commissioned researchers to interview600 working adults from all over the country between 1-3 December,2000.
  • 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 600,000customers. It is one of the largest providers of income protectionand private medical insurance in the UK.
  • CGU and Norwich Union merged on 30 May 2000 to create CGNU plc- the world's 6th largest insurer, the UK's largest insurancegroup and one of the top-five life insurers in Europe withsubstantial positions in other markets around the world.

CGNU's principal business activities are long-term savings,general insurance and asset management with worldwide premiumincome and retail investment sales of £26 billion and assets undermanagement of more than £200 billion.

The combined life and pensions, general insurance and retailfund businesses in the UK operate under the Norwich Union brand,while the institutional business operates under the Morley FundManagement brand.

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