British women among the world's biggest drinkers (with men 62nd)

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For the first time, Gakidou said, in an attempt to improve on previous research, the new analysis adjusted for the impact of tourism on local statistics in liquor sales and attempted to control for unrecorded drinking, such as home brewing or illicit trade. For people ages 15 to 49, alcohol consumption was tied to 4 percent of deaths for women and 12 percent for men in 2016. It accounted for almost one in 10 deaths.

Griswold said that although the health risks associated with alcohol start off being small with one drink a day, they rise rapidly as people drink more.

"The strong association between alcohol consumption and the risk of cancer, injuries, and infectious diseases offset the protective effects for heart disease in our study".

In 2010, Belarus was the country where alcohol was consumed the most, with an average of 17.5 litres drunk per capita, according to the World Health Organization. The countries that drink the least alcohol have mostly Muslim populations.

"The health risks associated with alcohol are enormous", said Emmanuela Gakidou, senior author and director at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in Seattle.

Globally, one in three people (32.5 percent) drink alcohol - equivalent to 2.4 billion people - including 25 percent of women (0.9 billion women) and 39 percent of men (1.5 billion men). Instead, public health policy can enact measures like restriction on places that sell alcohol or market it, increase in alcohol price and taxes, and the prices could be set according to the minimum unit pricing. The authors also used updated and more robust statistical review models to analyze alcohol consumption and the health problems associated with it.

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An average of two drinks per day, for example, translated into a 7.0 percent hike in disease and injury compared to those who opt for abstinence.

Studies about drinking alcohol typically have one thing in common: The result is usually that everything's OK in moderation. While there's "no question" that heavy drinking is harmful, he says that plenty of data supports links between moderate drinking and lower total mortality and a decreased risk of heart disease - which, he says, are far more relevant concerns for most Americans than something like tuberculosis, which the Lancet paper identifies as a leading alcohol-related disease worldwide.

Protective effects were found for ischaemic heart disease and diabetes in women, but weren't enough to overrule the overall health risk of alcohol. However, that study's big takeaway was that even one drink a day could shorten life expectancy; long-term reduction in alcohol use added one to two years to life expectancy at age 40.

However, since we don't want to totally ruin your weekend, it's worth pointing out that the risks of moderate drinking are fairly low.

"However, it is important to note that many everyday activities, such as driving, carry risks which we deem to be acceptable - studies like this one can help people make more informed choices about which risks they wish to take".

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