No Alcohol Level Safe to Drink, Says New Global Study

A new global study says that there’s no alcohol level safe to drink. It also suggested moderate consumption of alcohol is more harmful than previously thought. The study stated alcohol use as the leading cause of disability, disease and death, clarifying there’s no safe level of drinking. The comprehensive study was published on 23rd August 2018 in the International Medical Journal, The Lancet. It included systematic analysis of information from millions of people in 195 countries.

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No Alcohol Level Safe to Drink

The study funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is part of the annual Global Burden of Disease study. It examined alcohol-related health outcomes and patterns between 1990-2016 for 195 countries and territories and by age and sex. The results showed alcohol use contributes to health loss, across the lifespan, particularly among men. The study showed alcohol use is a leading risk factor for disease burden worldwide and that there’s no alcohol level safe to drink.

Key Findings from Study

The study found alcohol consumption varied widely by country and by sex. Globally, more than 2 billion people were current drinkers in 2016. Notably, alcohol use led to 2·8 million deaths in 2016. Nearly 10% of the global deaths (i.e. 1 in 10) among populations aged 15–49 years were attributed to alcohol use. The researchers further warned people that health risks associated with alcohol use are massive. Particularly, they mentioned strong links of alcohol use causing health issues like premature death, cancer, cardiovascular problems, and accidents & injuries among others.

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The comprehensive study on alcohol use globally suggests that the widely held view on health benefits of alcohol needs revising. The results conflict with most health guidelines suggesting consuming up to two drinks of alcohol per day could be beneficial to health. They suggest there’s no alcohol level safe to drink. Because alcohol is one of the major causes of health loss and death today, the researchers mention the need of alcohol control policies. They clearly suggest we need to act and make policies and guidelines to reduce the alcohol damage and disease burden. In the absence of policy action today, they also warn of dire ramifications for future population.


Alcohol use and burden for 195 countries and territories, 1990–2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016

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