The Health Directorate launched a new app (all in Norwegian) to help people track their alcohol use as part of a drive to make people skip alcohol for a couple of weeks -- but it was the reactions that stole the day. Many people were outraged, others poked fun. And many others embraced the idea of cutting down.
You can download the app here: (sadly only in Norwegian):
Translation (excerpts): Norwegian Health Director Bjorn-Inge Larsen: "It's a sort of reminder that everyone should think about how much alcohol we drink. In Norway we don't drink much but we're drinking more and more: it's risen in the last 20-25 years. Now we drink a bit more in a continental fashion -- more wine -- and many of us still have binge drinking at weekends....Taking a couple of 'white weeks', and encouraging your friends to do the same -- is a way of reflecting on whether you have too high consumption or not. If it's a problem to take two white weeks, then it's perhaps a special reason to do it. It should not be a problem to cut out for 2 weeks. The app will show you how many calories you use drinking alcohol and how far you would have to run to burn them off.
There was a flood of reactions on social media. Among those opposed (with translations below each)
"I'm downloading the app. It's taking a bit of time, so I'm having a beer while I wait".
"If you get involved in this 'white weeks' campaign, does that mean you can only drink white wine?"
"I thought it was white days, but it was weeks. They are demanding."
'Long live the Big Brother society....Isn't Norway soon mature enough as a nation to let free citizens be able to make their own choices?"
"If white weeks don't cover malt whisky I'll consider joining in."
There's a lot of talk about the 'white week' app. It doesn't work on my mobile. It crashes and restarts all the time."
Many expressed support for the new campaign, and embraced the app. Norway reckons it has had foresight in health policies that have initially been viewed with scepticism abroad -- it was the second country (after Ireland; some U.S. cities, etc, were earlier) to introduce a ban on smoking in bars and restaurants, in 2004.
"Time to reduce alcohol consumption! Check out the link:
"It's smart to have white weeks"
'Test your alcohol use with the Health Directorate's new app!'