Alcohol Beverages Australia (ABA) has suggested that changes to the drinking guidelines by ‘alcohol activists’ mean an additional 2.1 million adults are now classified as ‘risky drinkers’.
The ABA says instant spike in risky drinkers is a direct result of the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) amending drinking guidelines from 14 standard drinks to 10 per person per week.
Alcohol Beverages Australian CEO, Andrew Wilsmore says that the numbers are unreliable because the process itself was flawed, failing to factor in gender differences and personal consumption patterns.
He said, “Risk varies from men to women and how often you choose to drink in a week. Despite their own evidence showing an every-day drinking man can have up to 18.5 drinks a week and women 14 a week, the NHMRC plucked 10 a week as their advice for all Australians.”
Under the previous guidelines 16.8% (3.86 million) of the adult population were assessed as drinking at risky levels (more than 2 drinks a day) now this has jumped this up to 26.1% (6.03 million) of the population (drinking more than 10 drinks a week).
“Australians deserve a pat on the back for changing our drinking culture to one where moderation is the new norm. Per capita alcohol consumption is less now than it was 50 years ago,” said Wilsmore.
“Putting anti-alcohol activists in charge of developing the new guidelines has simply redefined the problem to suit their own purposes and alarmist agenda.”
Alcohol Beverages Australia issued the statement in response to the release from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.