Alcohol Consumption in Canada
Canada’s Chief Public Healthy Officer has recently released a report on alcohol consumption by Canadians.
The purpose of this report was to educate and raise awareness about alcohol-related health risks, with the hopes of inspiring some important conversations about how we are currently dealing with this mind-altering drug.
Yes, one of the key messages in this report is that although alcohol is treated more like food in our society, it is in fact a drug that is associated with some very serious health risks. The normalization of alcohol use across Canada has led many to forget to reflect on the impact of their choice to consume alcohol.
A crucial message within the report is that even though there are Canada’s low-risk drinking guidelines, this does not mean there is no risk. Even small to moderate amounts of alcohol consumption have been linked to several negative health outcomes such as: liver disease, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression, and anxiety.
The report also speaks to the possibility of dose-dependent effect with certain health outcomes. For example, some research has reported that low to moderate doses of alcohol can be beneficial on the immune system and in preventing cardiovascular disease. However, more recent research has suggested that these health benefits may not be directly related to alcohol consumption and currently the association between health benefits and low alcohol use is unclear. Furthermore, even if there is a dose-dependent effect for alcohol and health outcomes it only exists for certain types of diseases. For example, low to moderate doses may protect against ischemic stroke but not any other type of stroke. Moreover, even one drink a day has been found to be associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Therefore, Canadians should be aware that any potential health benefits associated with low to moderate doses of alcohol do not exceed the health risks; and, maintaining a healthy diet and engaging in physical activity are much less riskier behaviors that can achieve the same reported health benefits of low to moderate alcohol consumption.
The report also reminds us that there are absolutely no health benefits associated with alcohol consumption among youth. In fact, youth and their developing brains are at a higher risk for experiencing the negative impacts from alcohol. The report urges all Canadians to take the responsibility of support our youth’s healthy physical, emotional, and mental development seriously. We live in a society in which we are consistently faced with a myriad of mixed messages about alcohol use and we have the power to be positive role models for our children.
The chief officers report on alcohol consumption in Canada is an informative and helpful resource that we encourage you all to access. At Be You Promise.Org we think an important take home message for all of us to remember is that low risk does not mean no risk. Even small to moderate doses of alcohol can lead to serious negative consequences. Alcohol is a drug, and just like any other drug, there a lot of risks associated with taking it.
As Canadians we need to be responsible about the choices we make, which includes being informed. We have the ability to lead healthy, happy, and safe lives and making the choice to not drink alcohol is a big step in the right direction. We also have the power to be positive role models to our children so that they can grow up educated and able to make informed and responsible choices. So, “Because Choices Matter” – take the Be You Promise and made the choice to be the best you possible!
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