What Parents Should Know




There has been a lot of confusion about alcohol consumption in recent years. The value of alcohol to “heart health” has been touted in some publications based on research conducted in Europe and North America. Many of these studies show what seems to be a strong association between moderate alcohol consumption and reduction in the risk of heart disease, among other benefits. This association applies more to people over the age of 45 years than to younger drinkers.


The problem with this “good news” about alcohol are:


(1) that many people do not know what moderate drinking means, and


(2) people who should not drink because of an existing medical condition (including alcoholism) are more likely to be harmed by drinking than benefit from it.


It is also not advisable for anybody who does not drink to start drinking because of reported health benefits. The heart will be healthier with good food, exercise and no smoking than with moderate drinking of alcohol.


As a guide for parents who drink and want to do so responsibly, moderate drinking is generally defined as the consumption of an alcoholic beverage not exceeding two drinks for men and one for women per day.


A drink is a glass of beer or a shot of liquor. This definition is different from country to country, and depends on the amount of ethyl alcohol in a typical beer. The alcohol content in a typical Nigerian beer is 4% and the drink is sold in a bottle consisting of two drinks. Therefore, moderation for most people means drinking a maximum of one regular-size bottle of beer on any day and not drinking on a daily basis.