Revision of the Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol
This week the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) published an article describing the process of revising the NHMRC’s 2020 Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol.
This week the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) published an article describing the process of revising the National Health and Medical Research Council’s 2020 Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol. Authors from 16 institutions, including Prof Dan Lubman AM from Turning Point and the Monash Addiction Research Centre, were part of the committee that oversaw the development of the guidelines, which provide health professionals with the information they need to advise Australians on how to minimise their risk of harm from alcohol.
In Australia, alcohol contributes 4.5% of the burden of disease and injury and is the leading contributor for those aged 15–44 years. In recent times, evidence linking alcohol to cancer risk has strengthened, particularly at lower levels of consumption, with strong evidence of increased risk of seven types of cancer, including breast, colon and rectum, pancreas, liver, oesophagus, mouth, and throat and pharynx. The need for more stringent guidelines comes with this changing evidence, and internationally we are seeing reductions in the recommended limits of alcohol consumption to reduce risks.
The recommendations made in the guideline summary include:
- Healthy adults drink no more than ten standard drinks a week and no more than four standard drinks on any one day.
- 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 baby.
The full guideline summary is available here.