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On 8 January 2016, the Department of Health published changes to the alcohol guidelines for the United Kingdom. These replace the previous set of guidelines published in 1995, lowering the limit for the weekly alcohol intake for both men and women to 14 units per week. The alcohol guidelines also advise that pregnant women should avoid drinking any alcohol for the duration of their pregnancy, as alcohol can lead to “long-term harm” to their baby.

The move to update the alcohol guidelines followed a review undertaken by two expert groups in health and behaviour in 2012, who had found that there was “significant new, good quality evidence”, unavailable at the time of the previous review in 1995, regarding the effects of alcohol consumption on a person’s health.


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