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Alcohol-related deaths on the rise, says World Health Organization

WHO's report notes an increase of alcohol-related deaths of women.
By Ed Adamczyk   |   May 12, 2014 at 2:15 PM   |   Comments

UNITED NATIONS, May 12 (UPI) -- Alcohol consumption was responsible for 3.3 million deaths worldwide in 2012, the World Health Organization said in a new report.

The report, which examined trends in 194 WHO member countries, noted Europe has the world's highest per capita consumption rate of alcohol, although the rate has remained stable in the past five years. Drinking increased in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific regions in that time.

It noted alcohol-related mortality is more commonplace for men than women -- with 7.6 percent of deaths among men and 4 percent among women globally related to excessive drinking. Yet a similar 2011 study found 6.2 percent of all male deaths and only 1.1 percent of female deaths involved alcohol, which suggests a more substantial increase for women in alcohol-related deaths.

The report found 6.2 liters (1 U.S. gallon and four pints) of alcohol are consumed annually, on average, by every person on earth over the age of 15, but since only 38 percent of the world's population is actually comprised of alcohol drinkers, it means those who drink consume 17 liters (four U.S. gallons and four pints) annually.

"Lower-income groups are more affected by the social and health consequences of alcohol," said the World Health Organization's Dr. Shekhar Saxena.

The report suggested greater government leadership is required to deal with the problem, noting only 66 countries have national leadership entrusted to address alcohol abuse in their countries.

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