Sir Liam Donaldson said research found drinking when young can affect brain development, but despite the potential damage a ‘massive number’ of young people drank routinely in the UK.
He said: ‘We’re trying to get the message across that children aged under 15 are still developing, their brains are developing, and drinking alcohol can do some quite serious damage.’
He said surveys found parents are ‘quite confused about the medical and health implications of children drinking alcohol’, and the new advice is to help parents regulate their child's alcohol intake.
Figures show that by the time they are 15, most young people in the UK have drunk alcohol, with a third of a million 11-15 years old on a typical weekend drinking.
Sir Liam said: ‘That's a massive number and we've got to do something about it.’
According to Government figures, 630,000 children aged 11 to 17 in the UK drink alcohol more than once a week and one in five 15-year-olds say they first got drunk when they were 13 or younger.
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