Do you know your alcohol limits?

Colin Shevills, director of Balance, the North East Alcohol Office.
Colin Shevills, director of Balance, the North East Alcohol Office.
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A shocking lack of knowledge on drink guidelines has been found in the North East.

Only 16% of adults know what the correct limits are for recommended alcohol intake each week.

Colin Shevills, director of the North East alcohol awareness group Balance, described the figure as “shockingly low”.

It’s two years since the guideline levels were first announced by the UK’s Chief Medical Officers and Mr Shevills added: “It is a failing of the Government and the alcohol industry not to have publicised these low-risk limits two years on.

“We carried out a brief review of product labels last year and found only one of 300 carrying the new guidelines.

“It means hundreds of thousands of people are putting their health at risk while potentially remaining unaware of the guidelines and the reasons for following them.

“ The public have a right to know these facts so they can make informed decisions.”

The low-risk weekly drinking guideline for adults is 14 units a week. That’s about six pints of 4% beer, or six medium glasses of wine.

Balance has done its own study and it shows 80% of people want alcohol labels to include the weekly guidelines, and a warning that exceeding the guidelines can damage your health.

The same percentage wants labels to include a warning that alcohol is linked with cancer.

Just as worrying was the low level of awareness on the recommendations over when a youth should have their first drink. Official advice is at the age of 15, but only one in 20 adults were aware of that.

Balance carried out its study last September. Two thousand people across the region were surveyed by the national polling company OnePoll, and the results were then weighted to ensure they are regionally representative.

The survey found that 54% of people thought children who drink at home will “know how to handle their drink when they’re older”, and that children who drink in moderation at home “are less likely to binge on their own”.

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, a liver doctor and chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said: “It’s hardly surprising that the public want the Government to do more.

“The public have the right to know the Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines so that they are empowered to make informed choices about their drinking”