Did you know that the National Health and Medical Research Council has published four guidelines relating to safe drinking levels? The Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol describes the levels of alcohol that increases your long-term health risk and your short-term risk of injury. The guidelines also advise that pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people under 18, don’t drink alcohol at all.
Guideline 1: Lifetime riskReducing the risk of alcohol-related harm over a lifetime. For healthy men and women, drinking no more than two standard drinks on any day reduces the lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury such as cancer, liver damage and diabetes. The lifetime risk of harm from drinking alcohol increases with the amount consumed.
Guideline 2: Short-term riskReducing the risk of injury on a single occasion of drinking. For healthy men and women, drinking no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion reduces the risk of alcohol-related injury. During a single drinking session, the risk of alcohol-related injury increases with the amount consumed.
Guideline 3: Under-age drinkingChildren and young people under 18. For children and people under 18, not drinking alcohol is the safest option. A Parents and carers should be advised that children under 15 are at the greatest risk of harm from drinking and that for this age group, not drinking alcohol is especially important. B For young people aged 15−17 the safest option is to delay the initiation of drinking for as long as possible.
Guideline 4: Pregnancy and breastfeedingDrinking alcohol while you’re pregnant can harm the developing fetus or breastfeeding baby. A For women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, not drinking is the safest option. B For women who are breastfeeding, not drinking is also the safest option.
Information in this section has been drawn from the following sources:
- National Health and Medical Research Council, 2009, Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol. NHMRC, Canberra. Available from: http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/ds10-alcohol.pdf