Wearsiders are being urged to ditch the booze and make a healthy start to 2017.
Balance, the North East Alcohol office, has joined forces with Sunderland City Council to challenge people to start the New Year by giving up alcohol for 31 days.
Alcohol Concern’s Dry January, now in its fifth year, asks people to put the excesses of the festive period behind them and adopt a fresh approach to their own wellbeing.
As well as all the making the most of hangover-free weekends, Balance argue that anyone accepting the Dry January challenge can also look forward to starting the year with better sleeping patterns, better skin, more energy, a smaller waistline and more money.
For the last three years the North East has led the way in terms of the rate of Dry January sign ups, with the highest proportion of people taking up the challenge coming from the region.
It’s estimated that around two million people nationally attempted the challenge last year, with around 70,000 coming from the North East.
Sue Taylor, partnerships manager at Balance, said: “Alcohol can make us more tired, anxious and less energised. Drinking above the recommended guidelines also puts us at more risk from around 60 different medical conditions, including at least seven different types of cancer.
“Whatever your motivation for taking part, a break from the drink for even just one month can have positive effects on our health, and, for many people, joining in Dry January encourages them to reassess their drinking habits and make positive long-term changes.
She added: “As this years’ campaign shows, Dry January is also a great opportunity to get out and about with your friends and family, and see all the fantastic places the wider region has to offer. We’ll be providing people with lots of tips and ideas in the run up and throughout January and we want to hear your own ideas for great ways to spend a hangover free month.”
Councillor John Kelly, portfolio Holder for public health and wellness at Sunderland City Council, said: “Drinking regularly is a habit which creeps up on many of us and it’s easy to end up drinking more than the recommended limits without realising it.
“Taking part in Dry January is a great opportunity to break that habit and going alcohol free for a month means you’ll probably sleep better, have more energy and generally feel healthier.”