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Practise moderation if drinking during the holidays, Health Unit urges

SIMCOE, DECEMBER 22, 2011 – The holiday season can be a difficult time to resist overindulging. Turkey and stuffing, chocolates and cookies, and shopping sales all test people’s ability to exercise restraint.
The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit is reminding locals that alcohol needs to be added to the list of things consumed in moderation during the festive season, and all year long.

“With all of the office parties, get-togethers with family and friends, and then New Year’s celebrations, some people’s holidays can become alcohol-idays, which is very dangerous to their health.” said Lina Hassen, Substance Misuse Prevention Health Promoter with the Health Unit. “The risks associated with too much alcohol consumption stretch far beyond showing up at work the next day with an embarrassing story about you or a soiled reputation,”

Alcohol consumption contributes to more than 60 diseases including high blood pressure, stroke and certain cancers. In fact, alcohol trails only tobacco and high blood pressure in the list of risk factors for death and disability in Canada.

The Health Unit is encouraging those who choose to drink to stick to Canada’s new Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines to reduce their immediate and long-term alcohol-related harm. The guidelines, which were released at the end of November, recommend that women drink no more than three drinks on any single occasion and no more than 10 drinks a week. The recommendation for men is a maximum of four drinks on any single occasion and no more than 15 drinks a week.

According to the guidelines, a ‘drink’ refers to:
· 341 ml (12oz) of beer, cider or cooler (5% alcohol)
· 142 ml (5oz) of wine (12% alcohol)
· 43 ml (1.5oz) of hard liquor such as rye, gin, rum, etc. (40% alcohol)

The new guidelines also stress that you should not drink if you are driving, pregnant or planning to be pregnant, or if you are responsible for the safety of others. Also, if you do decide to drink at a holiday party or gathering, it’s important to drink slowly and alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and make sure you eat before and while you are drinking.

“Party hosts should also offer a variety of non-alcoholic drink options for their guests” noted Hassen. “The Health Unit has a number of ‘mocktail’ recipes on its website if you want some ideas for fancy, tasty, non-alcoholic drinks.”

Low levels of alcohol consumption, or approximately one standard drink a day or less, have been associated with health benefits for people over the age of 45. However, both the Canadian guidelines and the World Health Organization stress that people should not start to drink, or increase their drinking, for any reported health benefits.

“There are many much less risky alternatives to alcohol that can help offer protection against cardiovascular disease, such as exercise, proper nutrition and quitting smoking,” added Hassen.

More information about the new Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines, as well as non-alcoholic ‘mocktail’ recipes, can be found on the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit’s website at


Media contact:
Lina Hassen
Substance Misuse Prevention Health Promoter
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
Ext. 3274 at either 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623
[email protected]