Tuesday 11 December 2018

Alcohol 'kills one in 20 worldwide', says WHO

Health

More than three million people died in 2016 due to drinking too much alcohol, the World Health Organisation has claimed. Photo: Laura Lean/PA
More than three million people died in 2016 due to drinking too much alcohol, the World Health Organisation has claimed. Photo: Laura Lean/PA

Kate Kelland

More than three million people died in 2016 due to drinking too much alcohol, meaning one in 20 deaths worldwide was linked to harmful drinking, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said yesterday.

More than three-quarters of these deaths were among men, the UN health agency said. And despite evidence of the health risks it carries, global consumption of alcohol is predicted to rise in the next 10 years.

"It's time to step up action to prevent this serious threat to the development of healthy societies," the WHO's director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said. "Far too many people, their families and communities suffer the consequences of the harmful use of alcohol."

In its 'Global status report on alcohol and health 2018', the WHO said that globally an estimated 237 million men and 46 million women are problem drinkers or alcohol abusers. The highest prevalence is in Europe and the Americas, and alcohol-use disorders are more common in wealthier countries.

Of all deaths attributable to alcohol, 28pc were due to injuries, such as traffic accidents, self-harm and interpersonal violence; 21pc were due to digestive disorders; and 19pc due to cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.

Worldwide, 45pc of total alcohol consumed is in the form of spirits, with beer at 34pc, and wine at 12pc.

Irish Independent

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