January 9, 2012
Britons Asked To Take Two Days Off From Drinking
The Science and Technology Committee of British Members of Parliament have called for Britons to refrain from consuming alcohol for at least two days of the week and consider their own weight when deciding to heavily imbibe, reports Keith Weir for Reuters.
The Royal College of Physicians warned the risk of liver disease, alcohol dependence and suggested drinkers be given a ℠binge drinking limit´ — the most they should drink daily. Current guidelines, introduced in 1987, recommend a maximum of 21 units of alcohol in a week for men and 14 for women.
The advice was updated in 1995 to recommend that men not regularly drink more than 3-4 units per day. The figures were 2-3 units for women and says that people should leave 48 hours of refraining from alcohol after heavy drinking, leaving time for the body to recover, writes James Gallagher for BBC News.
The report highlights issues in public understanding of how many units of alcohol there are in a drink. An Office for National Statistics survey suggested that 90 percent of people had heard of units and that only 13 percent kept a check on the units they drank.
“We suggest that, if daily guidelines are retained, the Government consider simplifying the guidelines so that, as is the case in Scotland, all individuals are advised to take at least two alcohol-free days a week,” the report said.
“This would enforce the message that drinking every day should be avoided, and would helpfully quantify what “regular” drinking means to the public,” reports Fiona Macrae for Daily Mail UK
Professor of public health, Alan Maryon-Davis, explains, “Broadly speaking [alcohol guidelines] are fit for purpose, but they need a bit of clarification. The word ℠daily´ I would object to. It gives the impression that it is a good idea to drink every day, which clearly it isn´t.”
He thinks that phrases such as “in a day” or “in 24 hours” should be adopted.
The report does support the concept of the unit, but said more work was needed to help people understand them. “There are sufficient concerns about the current drinking guidelines to suggest that a thorough review of the evidence concerning alcohol and health risks is due,” the report claims.
Wine and Spirit Trade Association spokesman Gavin Partington explains, “People want simple, consistent advice on how to drink responsibly. Through our commitment to the Responsibility Deal, the vast majority of alcohol labels on UK shelves will contain responsible drinking guidelines by 2013, supported by point-of-sale information in both the on-and-off trades.”
On the Net:
- UK Parliament
- Royal College of Physicians
- Office for National Statistics
- Wine and Spirit Trade Association