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Guidance on the consumption of alcohol by children and young people. A report by the Chief Medical Officer

  • Document type:
  • Author:
    Department of Health
  • Published date:
    17 December 2009
  • Publication format:
    electronic format only
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In April 2008, the Chief Medical Officer was asked by the Secretaries of State for Health and for Children, Schools and Families to prepare guidance on the consumption of alcohol by children and young people.

Over the last decade, public concern about the impact of alcohol on health and society has steadily mounted.

Particular concern has centred on the level and pattern of drinking among children and young people and its consequences on health, crime, violence and antisocial behaviour.

The key role of the Chief Medical Officer is to provide, for the Government and the public, advice without fear or favour. The best scientific evidence has been sought and used as the basis not just for presenting the facts, but also for making well-founded policy recommendations.

The work to support the Department of Health in producing this report has been carried out by Professor Mark Bellis and his team at the Centre for Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University.

This guidance was published initially in draft form as part of a consultation on advice and information for children, young people and alcohol, being facilitated in England by the Department for Children, Schools and Families. The findings from this consultation have been collated and utilised in the development of this final version of the Chief Medical Officer’s guidance.

How to use this document

This document is organised into the following sections:

Section 2: Nature and extent of the problem
provides an overview of drinking patterns and some of their consequences in young people in the UK.

Section 3: Guidance for the consumption of alcohol by children and young people presents each guideline followed by the rationale, the underpinning scientific evidence and implications. Links are made from the evidence to Section 4 and Section 5.

Section 4: Review of current policy, guidance and practice contains a summary of relevant information which relates to the guidance.

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