Alcohol prevention through sports clubs

Australian based Grogwatch, which is involved in health promotion and alcohol prevention initiatives has drawn attention to a paper highlighting Grogwatch’s own success with an innovative community intervention, known as Good Sports. This programme involves a three-level accreditation for sports clubs, based on their compliance with alcohol licensing, responsible serving practices, the phasing out of alcohol promotions, sponsorship and awards. Higher level accredited clubs need to have workplace policies including the provision of safe transport options and the provision of low cost non-alcohol and lower-alcohol beverage alternatives. An important outcome is that clubs believe it helps to set clear rules and expectations about what constitutes acceptable drinking behavior within their establishments. A report on a study of the programme, “Tackling risky alcohol consumption in sport: a cluster randomised controlled trial of an alcohol management intervention with community football clubs”, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, concludes 

With large numbers of people worldwide playing, watching and sports officiating, enhancing club-based alcohol management interventions could make a substantial contribution to reducing the burden of alcohol misuse in communities.”  

The report on this programme is significant as it is the first study of its kind to highlight the beneficial effects of working through sports bodies to bring about change in attitudes towards alcohol and for improving alcohol-related behaviours; the research report is particularly timely taking account of the Dormant Accounts measure on substance missue prevention which is due to be rolled out. The full text of the research report is available on open access.

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