For more than a decade, the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) has recognized Alcohol Awareness Month by talking about moderate drinking and alcohol abuse. But, reflecting on the past year, “awareness” is not enough for health and well-being. This year, AMWA follows the lead of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility in marking April Alcohol Responsibility Month.

As an organization of women physicians, AMWA understands responsibility means owning our actions, holding ourselves accountable, and, above all, making informed choices. So, this Alcohol Responsibility Month, AMWA wants to arm people with information.

For adults who choose to drink, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends up to one drink per day for females or up to two for males and states that drinking less is better for health than drinking more. What counts as one drink? A standard drink contains 0.6oz of pure alcohol, equivalent to 1.5oz 80-proof distilled spirits (40% alcohol, 98 calories), 5oz wine (12%, ~120 calories), or 12oz regular beer (5%, ~150 calories). Why are recommendations different for males and females? Many think body weight, but other factors matter too (e.g., females have less water in their bodies than males, so, drinking the same amount, females can reach higher blood alcohol concentrations).

When consumed responsibly and in moderation, alcohol can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle and diet for most adults. To learn more, talk to your physician about what is best for you, based on individual factors including family history, genetics, medical conditions such as cancer, and lifestyle.

Janice Werbinski

President, American Medical Women's Association

Schaumburg, Illinois

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