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DENMARK - Low-risk drinking guidelines

In March 2022 the Danish Health Authority updated and tightened the national advice on alcohol consumption for both young people and adults. The guidelines were last amended in 2010, and since then, new knowledge has emerged about the impact of alcohol on the health of the population.

The new recommendations are more stringent in several areas. First and foremost, the recommendation is that children and young people under the age of 18 be discouraged from drinking alcohol. There are also new consumption limits for adults aged 18 or over. In addition, a new indicator applies: 10-4. The rationale is that no alcohol consumption is completely risk-free for health. But you can minimise your health risk by drinking no more than 10 drinks a week. However, the 10 drinks should be spread over the days of the week, so that you drink a maximum of 4 drinks in one day.

"There will always be a risk associated with alcohol consumption. However, you can minimise - but not completely eliminate - your risk by drinking a maximum of 10 drinks over a week," says head of unit Niels Sandø, and continues: "Your drinking pattern is also very important. That's why we recommend drinking no more than 4 drinks in one day."

In addition, the new announcements do not distinguish between men and women. This is because the risk is almost the same for men and women, as long as you do not exceed 10 drinks per week. If you drink more, the risk increases faster for women than for men.

The Danish Health Authority advises young people under 18 not to drink alcohol because more is known about how alcohol damages brain development while young – including memory, learning, planning, decision-making, impulse control and language. In addition, as a particularly damaging factor, young people who drink alcohol often have a culture around alcohol that is all about getting drunk.

“We have a special focus on young people. We know that young people who drink large amounts of alcohol at one time are at increased risk of accidents, violence and unwanted sex. Alcohol can also be harmful, affecting both memory and learning ability in children and young people whose brains are still developing. That is why we have tightened our recommendations for children and young people under 18, so that we now advise against their drinking alcohol,” says Head of Unit Niels Sandø.

Recommendations on alcohol consumption by women who are trying to conceive, pregnant or breastfeeding remain unchanged.

These new messages will serve as a guide for individuals in deciding their own alcohol intake, and can be used to support frameworks and limits for, for example, children and young people’s alcohol intake.

Source: Sundhedsstyrelsen

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