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Denmark advises no alcohol consumption for under-18s

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Denmark advises no alcohol consumption for under-18s
The Danish Health Authority recommends all people under age 18 avoid alcohol. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

All young people aged under 18 have been advised not to drink alcohol in new guidelines issued by the Danish Health Authority.

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The advice is part of new general Danish recommendations on alcohol consumption, the health authority said in a statement.

The new recommendation for under-18s not to drink alcohol at all is based on knew knowledge of the detrimental effect on the development of the brain caused by alcohol in young people, the Danish Health Authority said.

Memory, learning, planning, decision making, impulse control and language can all be affected by alcohol when the brain is still developing, according to the health authority.

“We have a special focus on young people. We know that young people who drink large amounts of alcohol at once are at increased risk from accidents, violence and unwanted sex,” Niels Sandø, head of department with the Danish Health Authority, told news wire Ritzau.

“Alcohol can also be harmful and affect both memory and learning ability in children and young people, whereby the brain still is still developing. We have therefor tightened our recommendations in relation to children and young people under 18 years such that we now advise against them drinking alcohol,” he said.

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In addition to discouraging alcohol entirely for people under 18, the Danish Health Authority has changed its recommendations for the number of alcohol units people older than 18 should drink.

Under the new guidelines, adult women and men alike are advised to drink no more than 10 units a week and no more than four in one day.

That replaces outgoing recommendations which stated that 14 units for men and 7 units for women gave a low risk of disease related to alcohol consumption. The risk increased to “high” for weekly intakes of 14 units (women) and 21 units (men).

As such, the new guidelines do not differentiate between men and women.

That is because the risk of illness or death is almost equal for men and women if consumption is above 10 units per week, according to the health authority.

The risk increases more steeply for women than men at higher consumption levels, however.

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