Alcohol is the third leading cause of global burden of disease and injury

No alcoholAlcohol became the third leading cause of the global burden of disease and injury, in spite of the fact that most adults abstain from drinking globally.

The journal Addiction published this finding.

Last month, researchers reported that alcohol can increase the chances of cancer and cancer related deaths . In another study, researchers reported that alcohol intake could result in sleep deprivation in obese people.

“Alcohol consumption has been found to cause more than 200 different diseases and injuries,” Kevin Shield , doctoral student and lead author of the study, said in a statement. “These include not only well-known outcomes of drinking such as liver cirrhosis or traffic accidents, but also several types of cancer, such as female breast cancer.”

According to experts, the global burden of disease and injury caused by alcohol is not only large but is also growing. In 2010, alcohol caused about 5.5% of overall burden, i.e. third after high blood pressure and tobacco smoking, and 67 risk factors overall.

The researchers, in this study, analyzed the results from population surveys, sales or production data, and data on alcohol consumption not covered in official records, from all countries, territories and regions.

Researchers found that about 30% of alcohol consumed in 2005 was “unrecorded”.

“The amount of unrecorded alcohol consumed is a particular problem, as its consumption is not impacted by public health alcohol policies, such as taxation, which can moderate consumption,” said Jürgen Rehm , Ph.D., a study author.

“Improving alcohol control policies presents one of the greatest opportunities to prevent much of the health burden caused by alcohol consumption,” said Shield.


Shield, K., Rylett, M., Gmel, G., Gmel, G., Kehoe-Chan, T., & Rehm, J. (2013). Global alcohol exposure estimates by country, territory and region for 2005-a contribution to the Comparative Risk Assessment for the 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study Addiction DOI: 10.1111/add.12112

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