National, Regional, and Global Burdens of Disease Linked to Alcohol Use

Alcohol use continues to be one of the leading risk factors for the global burden of disease. This is despite growing awareness of the harm alcohol has the potential to cause and many worldwide initiatives and campaigns to tackle the issue.

Even though the global trend in alcohol use shows an overall increase, trends have varied in different parts of the world.

In an article published in the Lancet, scholars from around the world have gathered information about alcohol consumption in relation to gender, age, and geographical location from 2000 to 2016.

Results from their study found:

  • There was 3 alcohol-attributable deaths and 131.4 million disability-adjusted life-years in 2016
  • Alcohol use was a major risk factor for communicable, maternal, perinatal, and nutritional diseases, non-communicable diseases, and injury.
  • The alcohol-attributable burden of disease was higher among men than among women
  • alcohol-attributable age-standardised burden of disease was highest in the eastern Europe and western, southern, and central sub-Saharan Africa regions 
  • 52.4% of all alcohol-attributable deaths occurred in people younger than 60 years.

Overall the study adds to the body of research by highlighting the scale of alcohol-attributable deaths as well as the harm alcohol can have on individuals and wider society. It is vital to note regions where trends show a particular increase in alcohol-related harm so as to focus efforts on ensuring evidenced interventions are delivered and policies are implemented that will help to address the issue.

Shield, K., Manthey, J., Rylett, M., Probst, C., Wettlaufer, A., Parry, C. D., & Rehm, J. (2020). National, regional, and global burdens of disease from 2000 to 2016 attributable to alcohol use: a comparative risk assessment study. The Lancet Public Health, 5(1), e51-e61.