A CHARITY is urging people to stay booze-free this month to help improve their health.

Balance is promoting the Dry January campaign to get people to stop drinking alcohol this month.

Some staff from Durham County Council have signed up and are encouraging others to do the same.

Councillor Lucy Hovvels, the council’s cabinet member for adult and health services, said: “A lot of people start the new year with resolutions to lose weight and save money.

"One of the great things about Dry January is that it can contribute to both of those things, alongside lots of other fantastic health benefits including lower blood pressure and cholesterol, improved quality of sleep and even a reduced risk of diabetes."

Colin Shevills, director of Balance, said: “It is far too easy for regular drinking to creep up and for it to turn into a daily habit. Many people are becoming more aware of the harms of alcohol as a cause of cancer and other diseases and want to reduce their risks. Regular drinking can also make us more tired, anxious and less productive.

“Taking some time out can have real positive effects on our health and how we feel.

"After the festive season, Dry January is a chance to give our bodies a chance to recover and to lose weight, feel more alert, get fitter and a chance to take back control of our relationship with alcohol.”

According to a poll, one in 10 drinking plans to alcohol free this month, while almost four in five say they drink more than they want or intend to.