National Health and Medical Research Council confirms new national guidelines for reducing the health risks from drinking alcohol.
The guidelines are the result of four years of
extensive review of the evidence on the harms and benefits of drinking alcohol.
They replace the previous version, published in 2009. They will underpin policy decisions and public health messaging for many years to come.
“We’re not telling Australians how much to
drink,” says Professor Anne Kelso, CEO of NHMRC.
“We’re providing advice about the health risks
so that we can all make informed decisions in our daily lives.”
Paul Kelly, Australia’s Acting Chief Medical Officer, adds: “Every year there
are more than 4,000 alcohol-related deaths in Australia, and more than 70,000
hospital admissions. Alcohol is linked to more than 40 medical conditions,
including many cancers.
the guidelines keeps the risk of harm from alcohol low, but it does not remove
all risk. Healthy adults drinking within the guideline recommendations have
less than a 1 in 100 chance of dying from an alcohol-related condition.”
· To reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury,
healthy men and women should drink no more than 10 standard drinks a week and
no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day. The less you drink, the lower
your risk of harm from alcohol.
· To reduce the risk of injury and other harms to health, children
and people under 18 years of age should not drink alcohol.
· To prevent harm from alcohol to their unborn child, women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should not drink alcohol. For women who are breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is safest for their babies.
drink’ contains 10 grams of pure alcohol. This is about 285 ml of full-strength
beer, a can of mid-strength beer, 100 ml of wine, or a single shot of spirits.
guidelines are backed up by extensive analysis and reviews which are available
online at www.nhmrc.gov.au/alcohol. These
include systematic reviews on the health effects of drinking alcohol,
modelling, data on Australian drinking patterns and best practice guideline
They were developed by NHMRC, guided by a group of independent
health experts including doctors, medical and public health professionals,
researchers and consumer representatives on the Alcohol Working Committee. The
guidelines were reviewed and endorsed by NHMRC Council which includes the Chief
Medical Officers of the Commonwealth and each State and Territory, together
with leaders in health, research and ethics.
“Reducing the risks posed by alcohol
demands a complex and multi-faceted approach – and the release of the
guidelines is a very important part of that,” says
“They form part of the Australian
Government’s National Alcohol Strategy which seeks to prevent and minimise
alcohol-related harms to individuals, families and communities.”
NHMRC provides advice to government and the community on a wide
range of matters including nutrition, infant feeding, infection control, blood
lead levels and drinking water quality.
included in the guidelines are available at www.nhmrc.gov.au/alcohol:
Plain English Summary
Practical information: How to apply the Australian Guidelines to
Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol
The full guideline publication detailing the evidence for each
information for media includes:
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