Britain tries to get festive drinking in focus

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Britons will consume at least 602 million units of alcohol over the holidays, according to research released by a U.K. charity - the equivalent of 265 million pints, 602 million shots of vodka or 286 million glasses of mulled wine.

Nearly half (47%) of Britons predict that they will drink more than the daily guidelines, with over half (53%) planning to drink at all of the parties they attend. More men are expected to drink over their guideline amount during the festive season (54%) than women (41%). British authorities recommend between 24-32g of alcohol a day for men, and 16-24g for women, with a maximum of 168g or 112g respectively in a week.

The research was conducted by Drinkaware, a UK charity that has placed a  seven square metre touch screen in Covent Garden in central London to allow Christmas shoppers to compare their drinking with the national average. A unit calculator on the charity's website also capture data for a report, to be issued in early 2010.

Britain's National Health Service recently launched an iTunes app to help people keep track of their festive drinking, amid concerns that Britons are binging to excess. A study by Mintel in August showed that whilst the number of drinkers in the UK is declining, the amount of alcohol consumed is on the rise, due to stronger drinks such as "premium" lager.