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The global burden of alcohol

March 7, 2013

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) recently published the results of a study that shows alcohol is the third leading cause of disease and injury world-wide, superceded only by high blood pressure and tobacco smoking. The study was published in the journal, Addiction on March 4, 2013.

Researchers affirmed that drinking causes more than 200 different diseases and injuries, many of which are well-known, such as cirrhosis of the liver and traffic accidents. However, lead author Kevin Shield also reminded readers that alcohol consumption is also related to “several types of cancer, including breast cancer.”

Included in the study was the fact that Canadians drink more than the global average, consuming 9.9 litres per person per year as opposed to the global average of 6.1 litres per capita. In addition, Canadians show more detrimental drinking patterns than most countries in the European Union, tending to drink less with meals, binge drink and drink until intoxicated. This was found to be particularly true for the 15 to 29 year old age group, where alcohol is the leading cause of death.

You can read the online Addiction abstract of “Global alcohol exposure estimates by country, territory and region for 2005 – a contribution to the Comparison Risk Assessment for the 2012 Global Burden of Disease Study” on the Wiley Online Librarywebsite.

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