30 Jan, 2012 Last updated: 27 Jan, 2015

Eighty five percent of Australians who took part in febfast experienced long-term improvement to their overall health and wellbeing after taking just one month off alcohol in February, according to a new national survey commissioned by VicHealthi

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Eighty five percent of Australians who took part in febfast experienced long-term improvement to their overall health and wellbeing after taking just one month off alcohol in February, according to a new national survey commissioned by VicHealth.

The 1,300 febfast participants surveyed named saving money, getting more sleep and losing weight as the leading benefits and nine out of ten participants said they would do it all again.

On top of the short-term wins, many who took part in the annual fundraiser reported longer term benefits. Following febfast two thirds of participants set aside alcohol free days each week, half cut down on alcohol consumption and 70 per cent said they are now more conscious of how much they’re drinking.

febfast patron Sarah Wilson says this research reinforces what we have always thought about alcohol.

“Alcohol can have a huge impact on so many facets of our life so why not try life without booze for 29 days and see what happens to your skin, waistline, mood and energy. A month off alcohol is a great way to see what your body is capable of and potentially reduce the amount you drink year round. February starts this week so commit to doing febfast now!”

“You’ll get something back, whether it’s money in the bank, fitting back into that favourite pair of jeans or a better night’s sleep. It’s great to see from the research that past febfasters even reported developing a new-found determination to permanently cut back on alcohol and a realisation that you don’t need to drink to have a good time.”

VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter, who is taking part in this year’s febfast, said many febfasters became aware of how deeply entrenched excessive alcohol use is in Australian culture soon after making the choice to abstain.

“This is my first time participating in febfast. It’s fantastic how it directly challenges the cultural myth that alcohol is an unavoidable part of being social. While taking a break can lead to questions and even pressure from others to drink, it’s good to see that four out of five people found it easier to abstain during febfast than going it alone,” Ms Rechter said.

febfast National Director Howard Ralley said the leading motivations for people to take part were to give their body a break from alcohol, the personal challenge and to improve their health.

“It’s great to see people benefitting personally as well as giving young Aussies the chance to get their lives back on track,” said Howard.

febfast participants raise much-needed funds to help young Australians take control of their lives and address their alcohol and drug problems. Each year, more than 60,000 young people turn to alcohol and drug support services across the country for help and treatmentii. Funds raised by febfast participants go directly to a range of nationwide charities including Mission Australia, Australian Drug Foundation, Ted Noffs Foundation, YSAS, Mater Health Services, Holyoake and BushMob who run programs to support youth with alcohol and other drug problems.

Sign up for febfast at www.febfast.org.au

Download the summary and full report of survey results at http://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/Publications/Alcohol-Misuse/Evaluation-of-the-impact-of-febfast-participation.aspx