If you’re one of the third of all humankind who drinks alcohol, take note: There’s no amount of liquor, wine or beer that is safe for your overall health, according to a new analysis of 2016 global alcohol consumption and disease risk.
Alcohol was the leading risk factor for disease and premature death in men and women between the ages of 15 and 49 worldwide in 2016, accounting for nearly one in 10 deaths, according to the study, published Thursday in the journal The Lancet.
For all ages, alcohol was associated with 2.8 million deaths that year.
Those deaths include alcohol-related cancer and cardiovascular diseases, infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, intentional injury such as violence and self-harm, and traffic accidents and other unintentional injuries such as drowning and fires.
“The most surprising finding was that even small amounts of alcohol use contribute to health loss globally,” said senior study author Emmanuela Gakidou, a professor at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. “We’re used to hearing that a drink or two a day is fine. But the evidence is the evidence.”…
The Lancet study, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, used data from the 2016 Global Burden of Disease report, which captured information on premature death and disability from over 300 diseases by sex and age in 195 countries or territories between 1990 and 2016.
Researchers analyzed the impact of alcohol on 23 health conditions and alcohol-related risks on people between the ages of 15 and approximately 95 for the year 2016….
In independent comments published alongside the study, King’s College London alcohol researcher Robyn Burton called the study “state-of-the-art.”
“The conclusions of the study are clear and unambiguous: alcohol is a colossal global health issue,” Burton wrote, suggesting that policy makers put a priority on programs that focus on decreasing alcohol consumption….
Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, agreed, saying in a statement, “While there may be a slight benefit to heart and circulatory health from modest drinking, many studies have shown that the overall health risks of drinking alcohol outweigh any benefits.”