Alcohol kills one person every 10 seconds worldwide

May 12, 2014 by Nina Larson
alcohol

Alcohol kills 3.3 million people worldwide each year, more than AIDS, tuberculosis and violence combined, the World Health Organization said Monday, warning that booze consumption was on the rise.

Including drink driving, -induced violence and abuse, and a multitude of diseases and disorders, alcohol causes one in 20 deaths globally every year, the UN agency said.

"This actually translates into one every 10 seconds," Shekhar Saxena, who heads the WHO's Mental Health and Substance Abuse department, told reporters in Geneva.

Alcohol caused some 3.3 million deaths in 2012, WHO said, equivalent to 5.9 percent of global deaths (7.6 percent for men and 4.0 percent for women).

In comparison, HIV/AIDS is responsible for 2.8 percent, causes 1.7 percent of deaths and violence is responsible for just 0.9 percent, the study showed.

More people in countries where has traditionally been low, like China and India, are also increasingly taking up the habit as their wealth increases, it said.

"More needs to be done to protect populations from the of alcohol consumption," Oleg Chestnov of the WHO's Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health unit said in a statement launching a massive report on global alcohol consumption and its impact on public health.

Drinking is linked to more than 200 health conditions, including liver cirrhosis and some cancers. Alcohol abuse also makes people more susceptible to infectious diseases like tuberculosis, HIV and pneumonia, the report found.

Most deaths attributed to alcohol, around a third, are caused by associated cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

Alcohol-related accidents, such as car crashes, were the second-highest killer, accounting for around 17.1 percent of all alcohol-related deaths.

China, India drinking more

Binge drinking is especially damaging to health, the WHO pointed out, estimating that 16 percent of the world's drinkers abuse alcohol to excess.

While people in the world's wealthiest nations, in Europe and the Americas especially, are boozier than people in poorer countries, rising wealth in emerging economies is also driving up alcohol consumption.

Drinking in populous China and India is rising particularly fast as people earn more money, the WHO said, warning that the average annual intake in China was likely to swell by 1.5 litres of pure alcohol by 2025.

Still, Eastern Europe and Russia are home to the world's biggest drinkers.

Russian men who drink consumed an average of 32 litres of pure alcohol a year, according to 2010 statistics, followed by other Western countries including Europe, Canada, the United States, Australia and South Africa.

On average, every person above the age of 15 worldwide drinks 6.2 litres of pure alcohol in a year, according to the report.

Counting only those who drink though, that rises to 17 litres of pure alcohol each year.

But far from everyone indulges. Nearly half of all adults worldwide have never touched alcohol, and nearly 62 percent say they have not touched a drink in the past year, the report showed.

Abstinence especially among women, is most common in low-income countries, while religious belief and social norms mean many Muslim countries are virtually alcohol free.

Explore further: Alcohol consumption is a necessary cause of nearly 80,000 deaths per year in the Americas

Related Stories

Alcohol consumption is a necessary cause of nearly 80,000 deaths per year in the Americas

January 14, 2014
A new study published in the scientific journal Addiction by the Pan American Health Organization, a branch of the World Health Organization, has measured the number and pattern of deaths caused by alcohol consumption in ...

Drinking poses greater risk for advanced liver disease in HIV/hep C patients

May 2, 2014
Consumption of alcohol has long been associated with an increased risk of advanced liver fibrosis, but a new study published online in Clinical Infectious Diseases from researchers at Penn Medicine and other institutions ...

Is the increased risk of death due to alcohol intake greater for women or men?

April 9, 2014
The increased risk of death associated with alcohol intake is not the same for men and women. A study that compared the amount of alcohol consumed and death from all causes among nearly 2.5 million women and men showed that ...

Drinking alcohol several times a week increases the risk of stroke mortality

March 19, 2014
Consuming alcohol more frequently than twice a week increases the risk of stroke mortality in men, according to a study carried out at the University of Eastern Finland. The results show that the effects of alcohol are not ...

Urine test best detects alcohol use in liver transplant candidates, recipients

May 8, 2014
Researchers from Italy confirm that urinary ethyl glucuronide (uEtG) accurately detects alcohol consumption in liver transplant candidates and recipients. The study published in Liver Transplantation, a journal of the American ...

Recommended for you

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

High-dose vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles for children

July 18, 2017
Giving children high doses of vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles, a new study has found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.