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Belgium: All Alcohol Use Impacts Health

Belgium Health Council: All Alcohol Use Impacts Health

Any consumption of alcohol has a negative impact on health, said the Superior Council of Health (CSS) of Belgium. Even low dose alcohol use adversely affects health, according to findings of a new CSS research report. In response to increasing alcohol harm, it recommends a number of cost-effective, high-impact, evidence-based alcohol policy best buy solutions.

Alcohol is the fourth leading cause of death in Belgium among people aged 15 and over. Alcohol use is a major risk factor for heart disease, cancer and liver disease. Alcohol is also a major risk factor for injuries and deaths from accidents and violence, according to findings of the CSS.

According to a 2013 health survey, 82% of Belgians aged 15 and over consumed alcohol the previous year. Alcohol harm increased in recent years in Belgium. For example, the number of hospitalizations for alcohol-related incidents has increased by 13%.

CSS recommendations for alcohol policy solutions

The Superior Health Council recommends a number of cost-effective and high-impact solutions:

  1. Increase the price of alcohol through raising alcohol taxes,
  2. Prohibiting all alcohol advertising, promotion and sponsorship,
  3. Limiting the availability of alcohol.

Other measures the CSS recommends are providing free water in the hospitality industry, adapting alcoholic beverage labelling with health recommendations, and local authorities are advised to no longer link prevention campaigns with alcohol advertising spaces and instead provide independent spaces for prevention messages.

Source Website: XINHUA