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Revised Australian alcohol guidelines from NHMRC

17 / 02 / 20

In the first update in 10 years, Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has released draft recommendations for alcohol consumption. They recommend a reduced weekly limit of 10 standard drinks for healthy adults (1.4 a day), and no more than 4 drinks on any one day.

This is fewer than the 14 standard drinks per week (two per day) in previous guidelines. The new guidelines also recommend pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and young people under 18 years not drink any alcohol at all.

A reduction in the weekly limit for healthy adults was a response to the evidence suggesting an increased risk of cancer linked to alcohol consumption, particularly breast and bowel cancers.

The zero-alcohol message for young people is due to the lack of evidence for safe or low risk alcohol consumption in this group and the adverse effect of alcohol on brain development. Abstinence from alcohol in pregnant and breastfeeding women is recommended to reduce the risk of harm to the child.

The new draft guidelines are open for consultation. For more information and to make a submission visit the NHMRC website.