The largest study to date concludes that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption

"The health risks associated with alcohol are very large and our findings are consistent with other recent studies that found clear and convincing correlations between drinking and premature death, cancer and cardiovascular problems, overall risk of loss of health", lead author of the study, Emmanuela Gakidou, of the Institute of Metrics and Health Assessment at the University of Washington (United States).

The study does not distinguish between beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages because of the lack of evidence in estimating the burden of disease. However, the researchers used data on all alcohol-related deaths in general and related health outcomes to determine their conclusions.

The patterns of alcohol consumption vary widely according to country and gender, average consumption per drinker and burden attributable to the disease. Worldwide, more than 2 billion people were drinkers in 2016: 63 percent was a man.

The & # 39; average consumption & # 39; refers to a standard drink, defined in the study as 10 grams of pure alcohol consumed by one person per day, about the equivalent of a 100 milliliter glass of red wine or a 375 ml beer can. The & # 39; standard drinks & # 39; are different, depending on the country. In the United Kingdom, for example, a standard drink is 8 grams of alcohol, while in Australia, the United States and Japan it is 10, 14 and 20 grams respectively.

The study, which is part of the annual global burden of disease, evaluates the results and health patterns of alcohol between 1990 and 2016 for 195 countries and territories and age and gender. For example, it provides findings on the prevalence of current alcohol consumption, abstinence, consumption among current consumers and deaths and general health problems attributable to alcohol for 23 health outcomes, such as communicable and non-communicable diseases and injuries, including: cardiovascular disease , cancer or traffic accidents.

"Now we understand that alcohol is one of the main causes of death in the world, we need to act urgently to prevent these millions of deaths, and we can," says the editor of "The Lancet," Richard Horton.

Details of the study

This study used 694 data sources on alcohol use at individual and population level, along with 592 prospective and retrospective studies on the risk of alcohol consumption. More than 500 employees of the Global Burden of Diseases, such as researchers, academics and others from more than 40 countries contributed to the study.

"With the largest gathered evidence gathered so far, our research makes clear the relationship between health and alcohol: the consumption of alcoholic beverages causes a significant loss of health, in countless ways, around the world," says.

In 2016, eight of the top 10 countries with the lowest mortality rates were due to alcohol consumption among people aged 15 to 49 in the Middle East: Kuwait, Iran, Palestine, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan and Syria. . The other two were the Maldives and Singapore.

In contrast, seven of the top 10 countries with the highest mortality rates were in the Baltic, East European or Central Asian regions, especially Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, Mongolia, Latvia and Kazakhstan. The other three were Lesotho, Burundi and the Central African Republic.

"There is an urgent need to review the policy to encourage lower levels of alcohol consumption or to abstain altogether." The myth that one or two drinks a day are good is only that: a myth. myth, "concludes the researcher.

With information from Europa Press

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