The Foundation Against Cancer is giving a positive assessment of the “Round of Mineral Water” campaign. This invited Belgians not to drink alcohol during February. In total, 122,460 individuals rose to the challenge. The event raised some 170,000 euros. Initial project statistics indicate that this month of abstinence appealed more to the north of the country than the south (75%, or 91,845 Flemish individuals compared to 25%, or 30,615 French-speakers).
Six out of ten participants were women and four of out ten men, with an average age of around 40. The main motivation for 64% of participants was having a break from alcohol for the benefit of their health.
In the French-speaking part, the campaign was most successful in the provinces of Walloon Brabant and Namur with 11 out of 1,000 inhabitants signed up for it. In the Dutch-speaking part of the country, West Flanders was the most enthusiastic with 17 out of 1,000 inhabitants getting involved with the project.
There is an explanation for the significant difference in participants between Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels. In Flanders, the VAD (Vereniging voor Alcohol-en andere Drugprobleme – a charity organisation which aims to prevent alcoholism and drug problems) was associated with the project.
Didier Vander Steichel, the Medical and Scientific Director of the Foundation Against Cancer says, “This organisation [the VAD] has a large network, which allows for better information dissemination.”
He stated, “Unfortunately we have not found the equivalent organisation in French-speaking Belgium.”
When they signed up, he requested that individuals state the reason for their involvement. As alluded to earlier, for 64% of them, the response was “to give my body a break from alcohol,” whilst for 52% this was more to “to feel in better shape.”
The entire amount raised by the project, indeed some 170,000 euros, will go directly to cancer-based research.
The organisers have already announced a second “Round of Mineral Water” event scheduled for February 2018.