January 13, 2016

New UK alcohol recommendations

From David Spiegelhalter, at the Understanding Uncertainty blog

Last week, the Chief Medical Officer announced new guidelines for alcohol consumption. The summary says:

‘The proposed guidelines and the expert group report that underpins them, have been developed on the basis of the following principles: People have a right to accurate information and clear advice about alcohol and its health risks.

‘There is a responsibility on government to ensure this information is provided for citizens in an open way, so they can make informed choices.’

This admirable aim of treating the public as adults capable of making up their own minds seems in stark contrast with the authoritarian tone of publicity from the Department of Health, which baldly says: ‘Men should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol each week, the same as women’.

Read the rest


Thomas Lumley (@tslumley) is Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. His research interests include semiparametric models, survey sampling, statistical computing, foundations of statistics, and whatever methodological problems his medical collaborators come up with. He also blogs at Biased and Inefficient See all posts by Thomas Lumley »


  • avatar
    Megan Pledger

    It seems insane to give a per week amount. People will interpret it to mean they can get trashed on Friday night and be ok as long as they are sober the rest of the week.

    2 years ago

  • avatar
    Megan Pledger

    The risk of alcohol to people is not just from “alcohol related conditions”. There is the risk of alcohol related accidents and alcohol related crime.

    And the risk isn’t just to the person doing the drinking, there is risk to other people … drink driving causing an accident, unprovoked street (and other) assaults etc.

    2 years ago