News Release Article from  Public Health Agency of Canada

Chief Public Health Officer's Annual Report

Chief Public Health Officer Releases a Report on Drinking Alcohol in Canada

February 3, 2016 - Ottawa - Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Gregory Taylor, today released his 2015 annual report focussed on drinking, a practice that for many Canadians is a part of their everyday lives.

"Drinking is such a normal part of life for many people however alcohol is not harmless," said Dr. Taylor. "I hope my report fosters a dialogue about alcohol's risks to health that may help Canadians pay closer attention to their drinking. While data shows us that the number of Canadians who drink is going down, there is still cause for concern as most people under-report how much they drink and therefore may not understand the risks to their health even at one drink per day."

The report provides a snapshot of drinking in Canada and its effects.  It explores how drinking patterns impact the brain and behaviour, and the resulting health impacts. For example, about 3,000 babies are born every year in Canada with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.  The report also covers influencing factors at play such as the social acceptability of drinking, and how they may influence the risks from drinking. The report closes with a section on reducing the health impacts of drinking.

"I want this report to serve as a launching pad for having further conversations with Canadians about the harms associated with drinking," said Dr. Taylor. "Young people are surrounded by mixed messages about drinking alcohol through advertising and our own behaviour as adults.  While most youth think there is little to no health risk related to alcohol, given their stage of development, they are among the most vulnerable. Adults can serve as powerful positive role models. I want to engage and talk about this topic so families, caregivers and youth can have frank conversations about it."

Moving forward, the Chief Public Health Officer will be engaging youth and youth influencers on the health impacts of drinking alcohol.

The Chief Public Health Officer's Report on the State of Public Health in Canada, 2015: Alcohol Consumption in Canada

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