Alcohol

  • A warning for women of childbearing age.  The CDC states that teens and women ages 15-44 should avoid alcohol unless they are using birth control. Alcohol can harm a developing baby before a woman knows she is pregnant.  The CDC estimates more than 3 million women are at risk of exposing a developing fetus to alcohol. This warning is to reduce the cases of fetal alcohol syndrome.    (CBS Morning News, USA Today, February 3, 2016)
  • Share this Warning with Men and Boys:  There are 4 ways a man's health affects his offspring. 
    A fathers lifestyle may have far more effect on a child's health than doctors originally believed. Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center found, that there are 4 ways a man's health affects his offspring:
1)  An alcoholic father raises the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome and developmental difficulties, 
     as three quarters of babies with fetal alcohol problems had fathers who were alcoholics. 
2)  Kids of older fathers (40 and older) have higher rates of schizophrenia, autism, and birth defects.
3)  Your dad's diet impacts how you react to food.
4)  A dad who smokes may cause DNA damage.
Fertility specialists say men are not immune to reproductive aging.  A man's lifestyle, age, and genetics can play just as significant a role in the health of a baby as the mother's health.  ("Dads lifestyle linked to kids' health issues," and "Influence of paternal preconception exposures on their offspring: through epigenetics to phenotype," American Journal of Stem Cells, April 2016)
Statistics
  • Cancer Risk.   Alcohol increases the risk of many cancers, including breast cancer.  There is no level of alcohol consumption that can be considered safe for women.  Even low-to-moderate amounts of alcohol increase the risk of cancer, which outweighs any potential cardiovascular benefit for having a single drink every day.     (Dr. Michael S. Lauer and Paul Sorlie, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and Epidemiologist Naomi E. Allen, University of Oxford, Journal of the National Cancer Institute)  

  • Women who have 1-2 drinks a day increase their risk of getting breast cancer by 10%, according to research.  It makes no difference if they drink beer, wine or liquor.  More than 3 drinks raises the risk to 30%. 
  • Women who drink just 3 alcoholic beverages a week face a higher chance for developing breast cancer compared with nondrinkers.  A compelling study followed more than 100,000 nurses almost 30 years showing an association between alcohol and breast cancer.  The researchers took into account other cancer risk factors, including age of menstruation and menopause, family history, weight and smoking—and still found evidence of a link with alcohol.  It made no difference whether the women drank liquor, beer or wine.  Increased risks were also seen in binge drinkers—women who consumed at least 3 drinks daily in a typical month.  The study does not prove that drinking causes the disease—but validates a link.    (Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Wendy Chen, a researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and associate professor at Harvard Medical School, November 2011)
What You Can Do
  • Read “Just one drink a day can raise women’s cancer risk.” by Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times, February 2009.