Katherine M Conigrave et al, Revision of the Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol, Medical Journal of Australia (2021). DOI: 10.5694/mja2.51336Journal information: Medical Journal of Australia
The Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol were released in 2020 by the National Health and Medical Research Council. Based on the latest evidence, the guidelines provide advice on how to keep the risk of harm from alcohol low. They refer to an Australian standard drink (10 g ethanol).
- •Guideline 1: To reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury, healthy men and women should drink no more than ten standard drinks a week and no more than four standard drinks on any one day. The less you drink, the lower your risk of harm from alcohol.
- •Guideline 2: To reduce the risk of injury and other harms to health, children and people under 18 years of age should not drink alcohol.
- •Guideline 3: 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.
Changes as result of the guideline
The recommended limit for healthy adults changed from two standard drinks per day (effectively 14 per week) to ten per week. The new guideline states that the less you drink, the lower your risk of harm from alcohol. The recommended maximum on any one day remains four drinks (clarified from previously “per drinking occasion”). Guidance is clearer for pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for people aged less than 18 years, recommending not drinking.
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia is responsible for developing guidelines on a wide range of public, clinical and environmental health issues. Since 1987 this has included guidelines on reducing the health risks of alcohol, with the latest revision released in 2020.1
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