The global burden of alcohol consumption

Thomas Babor, Harold Holder, Raul Caetano, Ross Homel, Sally Casswell, Michael Livingston, Griffith Edwards, Esa Österberg, Norman Giesbrecht, Jürgen Rehm, Kathryn Graham, Robin Room, Joel Grube, Ingeborg Rossow and Linda Hill

in Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity

Second edition

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199551149
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191720642 | DOI:
The global burden of alcohol consumption

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This chapter describes the enormous range of alcohol-related consequences within two broad categories: alcohol's contribution to the burden of illness carried by individuals and societies; and alcohol's harmful effect on the social fabric of families, communities, and nations. It also discusses the potential health benefits of moderate alcohol use. The chapter begins with a discussion of how epidemiologists establish causal relations between drinking and its consequences. It then reviews the evidence on health consequences in three different frames: 1) the role of alcohol in the global burden of disease and disability; 2) alcohol and all-cause mortality; and 3) the relation of alcohol to specific causes of death and disease. The relation of drinking to different types of social problems is then considered. A case study of the Russian experience during the anti-alcohol campaign of 1985-7 is used to illustrate the potential changes in health and social problems that follow from reductions in alcohol consumption. The available evidence on the relative magnitude of health and social problems from drinking is also considered.

Keywords: alcohol consumption; alcohol abuse; drinking problem; health risks; social problems

Chapter.  11181 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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