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New research suggests alcohol advice needs reviewing

Research published in the British Medical Journal this week (30 May 2012) has suggested that current government recommendations on alcohol consumption are well above the level needed to reduce alcohol-related diseases.

The government currently recommends that men should drink no more than three to four units per day (equivalent to a pint and half of 4% beer) and women no more than two to three units (equivalent to a 175ml glass of wine).

However, the research suggests that the optimum level of consumption is half a unit per day (equivalent to a quarter of a pint of beer or a quarter of a glass of wine). This level of consumption would advert or delay approximately 4,600 deaths per year, according to the findings.

The government’s new alcohol strategy, published in March 2012, has indeed committed to reviewing the current alcohol guidelines so that people can make responsible and informed choices about their drinking.

Alcohol is a major public health issue costing the NHS nationally approximately £2.7 billion each year. In Warwickshire, there are an estimated 20,000 adults drinking at levels that are harmful or hazardous to their health. The impact of this is being felt on local services with alcohol related hospital admissions in Warwickshire having increased year on year from 689 per 100,000 residents in 2002/03 to 1,696 per 100,000 in 2010/11.

People are encouraged to visit NHS Choices for the latest advice on alcohol consumption as well as a range of tools and tips to help them cut down. Information about local support and treatment services is also available on our website.

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