Alcohol kills one person every 10 seconds worldwide — WHO

Source: Time

By Alexandra Sifferlin @acsifferlin May 12, 2014

A new World Health Organization report released on Monday finds the dangerous consumption of alcohol led to 3.3 million deaths around the world in 2012 and that 16 percent of alcohol consumers take part in binge drinking

Dangerous alcohol consumption was responsible for 3.3 million deaths worldwide in 2012, according to a new World Health Organization report Monday.

Harmful alcohol use not only leads to addiction, but it can put people at a higher risk of over 200 disorders like tuberculosis and pneumonia.

“This actually translates into one death every 10 seconds,” Shekhar Saxena, head of the WHO’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse department, told reporters in Geneva, Global Post reports.

On average, every person in the world age 15 and older drinks 6.2 liters of pure alcohol a year, according to the report. However, less than half the world’s population drinks any alcohol, which means people who do drink average about 17 liters of pure alcohol a year. Men are more likely than women to experience alcohol-related deaths—though drinking among women is on the rise—and low-income communities are at a greater risk for social and health complications related to alcohol, the report said.

The report shows that 16% of drinkers partake in binge drinking, which is the most dangerous form of alcohol consumption. Europe has the highest alcohol consumption per capita, though consumption levels have been stable there for the last five years. Consumption has remained stable in Africa and in the Americas, but it appears to be rising in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific regions, according to WHO. China is estimated to grow its per capita consumption by 1.5 liters of pure alcohol by 2025.

The WHO says it would like to see a voluntary global target of a 10% reduction in harmful alcohol use by 2025.

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2 replies

  1. Quoting another newspaper

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

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

    “This actually translates into one death every 10 seconds,” Shekhar Saxena, who heads 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 per cent of global deaths (7.6 per cent for men and 4 per cent for women).

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

    More people in countries where alcohol consumption 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 negative health consequences 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 per cent of all alcohol-related deaths.

    China, India drinking more

    Binge drinking is especially damaging to health, WHO pointed out, estimating that 16 per cent 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, 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 per cent 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.

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