Drinking ourselves to death: alcohol consumption and mortality

16 May 2018

A paper (found here) which was co-authored by two members of NCEPH, Prof Emily Banks and Dr Ellie Paige, used data from almost 600,000 drinkers in 83 countries to examine the effect of alcohol consumption on premature mortality. The research showed that people who consume more than 100g of alcohol per week (10 standard drinks in Australia) are at greater risk of premature death, and that this risk rises with increasing levels of consumption. Compared to those who drank less than 100g of alcohol per week, those who drank 100-199g shortened their lives by 6 months, whilst those who drank 200-349g shortened their lives by 1-2 years and those who drank 350g or more per week shortened their lives by 4-5 years. The cut-off of 100g per week is less than the national guidelines for many countries. For example, the current alcohol guidelines in Australia suggest a limit of 140g per week (two standard drinks a day) and in the US the current guidelines suggest that up to 196g per week is safe for men, whilst Italy, Portugal and Spain have limits that are almost 50% higher than the US. These findings should encourage discussion on the appropriateness of the levels in national alcohol guidelines.