Chris Brook-Carter

When is one more, one too many?

By: Chris Brook-Carter - 16 December 2003 12:56

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Some of the myriad of problems facing not only drinks companies but also the local and international authorities in deciding how to tackle the issue of health and drinking were highlighted in a report released last week from the International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP).

The report, entitled International Drinking Guidelines, points to the widely disparate guidelines on what constitutes "safe" or "low-risk" drinking in different countries around the world. The study also tracks the widely divergent definitions of what equates to a standard drink or unit.
 
According to the study, "safe" drinking levels for men range from 14 to 28 grams in the US to 60 grams per day in France and New Zealand.  For women, levels range from 20 grams per day in Sweden to 70 grams a day in Spain's Basque region.
 
Meanwhile, standard drink sizes in Japan are set at 19.75g, whereas Australia suggests 10g.  The US proposes 14g for a standard drink compared to 8g in the UK.

The report points to country-by-country variations of research studies and the parameters created to carry them out as well as the different drinking cultures, for these discrepancies.

However, unless important basics such as these can be agreed on, a sensible pan-industry set of guidelines on how to tackle alcohol abuse remains a long way off.

The complete report can be found here

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