Health Highlights: Jan. 8, 2016

New Alcohol Guidelines in Britain More Reports of Sexual Assault/Harassment at Military Academies

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

New Alcohol Guidelines in Britain

Regular consumption of alcohol increases the risk of cancer and people should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week, according to new guidelines released Friday by Great Britain's chief medical officer.

That amount of alcohol is about six pints of beer or about four large glasses of wine, the Associated Press reported.

Even that recommended limit still carries a low risk of cancer or liver disease, the chief medical officer said.

Alcohol is a known carcinogen and causes about 3.5 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States, according to experts. For example, people who have more than four drinks a day have up to a three times increased risk of head and neck cancers than non-drinkers, the AP reported.

The new British guidelines are stricter than in some other European countries, but similar to U.S. recommendations, which say men should have no more than two drinks a day and women should have no more than one.


More Reports of Sexual Assault/Harassment at Military Academies

There was a 50 percent rise in reports of sexual assaults and a 40 percent increase in sexual harassment complaints at three U.S. military academies in the 2014-15 school year, according to a report to be released Friday.

During that school year, there were 91 reported sexual assaults at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, compared to 59 during the 2013-14 school year, the Associated Press reported.

The number of reported sexual assaults rose at all three schools, but nearly doubled at the Air Force Academy, from 25 to 49, the report said.

There were 28 sexual harassment complaints at the three schools in the 2014-15 school year, with 13 at the Naval Academy, eight at the Air Force Academy and seven at West Point, the AP reported.

The large increases in reports of sexual assault and harassment are due largely to students' increased confidence in the reporting system and expanded awareness programs, according to a senior defense official.

However, officials acknowledge that it's often difficult to determine how much of the rise in reported cases is due to more reporting or a higher number of incidents, the AP reported.

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