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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Committee announce new inquiry into the evidence base for alcohol guidelines

The Department of Health provides guidance to the public on alcohol intake. The Chief Medical Officer recommends that men should not regularly drink more than 3–4 units of alcohol a day and women should not regularly drink more than 2–3 units a day. Pregnant women or women trying to conceive are advised to avoid drinking alcohol. If they do choose to drink, they should not drink more than 1-2 units of alcohol once or twice a week.(1) Parents are advised that children should not drink any alcohol until they’re at least 15 years old.(2)

The Government’s March 2011 Public Health Responsibility Deal included a pledge to foster “a culture of responsible drinking, which will help people to drink within guidelines”.(3) The Committee has decided to carry out an inquiry into the evidence base for alcohol guidelines provided by Government to the public.

Terms of Reference

The Committee seeks submissions on the following matters:

1. What evidence are Government’s guidelines on alcohol intake based on, and how regularly is the evidence base reviewed?

2. Could the evidence base and sources of scientific advice to Government on alcohol be improved?

3. How well does the Government communicate its guidelines and the risks of alcohol intake to the public?

4. How do the UK Government’s guidelines compare to those provided in other countries?

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