There is no safe level of alcohol, new study confirms

Author (Corporate)
Series Title
Series Details 13.09.18
Publication Date 13/09/2018
Content Type

This Health Topic reports on a September 2018 article in The Lancet, which showed that any level of alcohol consumption, regardless of the amount, led to loss of healthy life.

The study provided findings on the connection between drinking patterns and 23 health outcomes, including:

+ cardiovascular diseases, cancers and other noncommunicable diseases;
+ communicable diseases;
+ intentional injuries;
+ unintentional injuries; and
+ transportation-related injuries.

Key facts from the WHO European Region

+ The WHO European Region has the highest proportion in the world of total ill health and premature death due to alcohol.
+ This high level of harm hides enormous alcohol-related health inequalities between countries in eastern and western Europe, particularly for injury deaths.
+ A country’s total per capita alcohol consumption is closely related to its prevalence of alcohol-related harm and alcohol dependence.
+ Both volume of lifetime alcohol use and a combination of frequency of drinking and amount consumed per occasion increase the risk of health and social harm, largely in a dose-dependent manner.
+ The risk of death from a chronic alcohol-related condition is found to increase linearly from zero consumption in a dose–response manner with the volume of alcohol consumed.
+ At a societal level, the European Union is the heaviest-drinking region in the world, with over one fifth of the European population aged 15 years and above reporting heavy episodic drinking (5 or more drinks on an occasion, or 60 grams alcohol) at least once a week. Heavy episodic drinking is widespread across all ages and all of Europe, and not only among young people or those from northern Europe.

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