A tenth of deaths in Europe attributed to drinking
A tenth of deaths in Europe and one in 25 worldwide can be attributed to drinking alcohol, a new report reveals.
The findings, published in The Lancet medical journal, found that average global alcohol consumption was around 12 units per person per week.
In Europe, people drink 21.5 units a week – almost twice the world average – while average consumption in the US is 18 units. The lowest consumers were those in the eastern Mediterranean, who downed just 1.3 units.
In 2004, the latest year for which global figures were available, 3.8% of all deaths around the world – or one in 25 – were due to drinking alcohol, said the study. The proportion of men suffering alcohol-related deaths was much higher than women – 6.3% compared with 1.8%.
Among Europeans, alcohol was directly responsible for as many as one in 10 deaths, the researchers found. Within Europe, the former Soviet Union countries suffered the greatest burden, with 15% of all deaths, or one in seven, caused by alcohol. Most deaths involving alcohol were the result of injuries, cancer, heart disease and liver cirrhosis.
The authors, led by Dr Jurgen Rehm, from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada, wrote: ‘We face a large and increasing alcohol-attributable burden at a time when we know more than ever about which strategies can effectively and cost-effectively control alcohol related harms.’
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