Pregnant Aussie women told to stay away from drink

November 14th, 2007 - 2:11 am ICT by admin  
The government has warned pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and those trying to conceive that there was no safe level of alcohol consumption.

The new guideline, which will be released today, contradicts the Government earlier advice that having up to seven drinks a week was safe

Previously, adult men were told that they could have six drinks a day, and women four without risking long-term harm.

However, it was recently, revealed that there was a five times increase in the number of 16 to 25-year-olds with alcohol-related brain damage in the past decade in Melbourne, reports the Age.

A committee of medical experts has analysed scientific research from around the world over the past year to produce the new draft guidelines.

“This is not a safe or no-risk drinking level and it’s not saying you mustn’t go above this, it’s an advisory level that lets you decide what will keep you at low risk,” Professor Jon Currie, chairman of the committee and director of addiction medicine at St Vincent’s Hospital said.

Currie said that men and women who consumed up to two standard drinks a day faced one-in-100 risk of death through long-term disease or short-term accidents.

This rises quickly when more than two drinks are consumed a day, with women more susceptible due to their typically smaller body mass, hormones and different fat distribution.

Risks range from alcohol-related diseases, increased susceptibility to heart disease, stroke and diabetes, as well as the risks of car and other accidents.

The guidelines have also explicitly advised children less than 15 years not to drink, and 15 to 17-year-olds to drink only under parental supervision.

Sonia Berton, chief executive of Arbias, which supports people suffering from alcohol-related brain damage, said that the guideline has sent a clear message to parents who are confused about when they should allow their children to drink.

“If you introduce alcohol early, no matter how safe the environment, you’re actually introducing a problem drinker down the track. The brain is still developing into the early 20s, so we would argue that there really aren’t safe levels for anyone under 25,” Berton said. (ANI)

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