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Alcohol toll is heavy in many ways

Thursday 28 February, 2013

One premixed drink = 2.5 km jog

Cutting back on the booze could decrease your waistline – and your risk of cancer, according to Brian Vandenberg, senior policy adviser at Cancer Council Victoria speaking as FebFast comes to an end for this year.

"Most FebFasters will have enjoyed a clearer head and will be feeling healthier after taking a month-long break from booze, and some might also notice their waistbands aren't as tight either. Drinkers sometimes forget that alcohol is packed with kilojoules, therefore drinking less may also have a positive effect on waistlines and further reduce the risk of weight-related cancers", said Mr Vandenberg.

Less noticeable – but equally as important – is the positive impact on some people's direct risk of cancer.

"We know that drinking more than two standard drinks per day significantly increases your risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver, breast and bowel, so cutting back on booze is good for your health in more ways than one", said Mr Vandenberg.

Alcohol contains a lot of empty kilojoules which can pile up if they're not burned off.

"For example, those who enjoy alcopops might be surprised to learn they'd need to jog around 2.5 km to burn off just one 330ml can."

"The reality is, however, many Australians consume four drinks or more on a single occasion. So, running off all the extra kilojoules after drinking half a bottle of wine will mean jogging for about 4.5 kilometres. Drinking four drinks or more each day also means you have 10 times greater risk of dying from an alcohol-related disease", said Mr Vandenberg.


No. of standard drinks*

No. of kilojoules

Exercise needed to burn off

1 glass of red wine (150mls) – typical restaurant serving



1.5km jog

1 glass of white wine (150mls) – typical restaurant serving



1.5km jog

1 bottle full-strength beer (375mls)



2.0km jog

1 bottle light beer (375mls)



1.5km jog

1 nip of straight spirits (30mls)



1.0km jog

1 can of pre-mixed spirits/alcopop (330mls) – e.g. Vodka Cruiser



2.5km jog


*Standard Drinks Guide, Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing / Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education

Being overweight or obese increases your risk of various cancers including bowel and breast cancers. Cancer Council research shows a waistline of over 100 cm for men and 85 cm for women significantly increases the risk of cancers of the bowel, breast and oesophagus.

"If you choose to drink, try to stick to no more than two standard drinks per day to keep yourself at low-risk of alcohol diseases, and have at least one or two alcohol-free days every week. Taking a longer break from booze – such as the whole of February – is even better for your health, and gives you a chance to really see the benefits of cutting back your drinking", said Mr Vandenberg.