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SOURCE Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
TORONTO, March 4, 2013 /CNW/ - A new study by the Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health (CAMH) shows that alcohol is now the third leading
cause of the global burden of disease and injury, despite the fact most
adults worldwide abstain from drinking.
This research, part of the 2010 Global Burden of Disease study, was
published in this month's issue of the journal Addiction. It also found that Canadians drink more than 50 per cent above the
"Alcohol consumption has been found to cause more than 200 different
diseases and injuries," said Kevin Shield, the lead author of the
study. "These include not only well-known outcomes of drinking such as
liver cirrhosis or traffic accidents, but also several types of cancer,
such as female breast cancer."
The study reports the amount and patterns of alcohol consumption by
country for 2005, and calculates estimates for these figures for
2010.It reveals vast differences by geographical region in the numbers
of people who consume alcohol, the amount they drink, and general
patterns of drinking. Some other findings:
Drinkers in Europe and parts of Sub-Saharan Africa are the world's
heaviest consumers of alcohol, on average.
People in Eastern Europe and Southern Sub-Saharan Africa consumed
alcohol in the unhealthiest manner, as they frequently consumed large
quantities, drank to intoxication, engaged in prolonged binges, and
consumed alcohol mainly outside of meals.
People in North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia consumed the
least amount of alcohol.
North Americans in general, and Canadians in particular drink more than
50 per cent above the global average, and show a more detrimental
drinking pattern than most EU countries, with more bingeing.
The global burden of disease and injury attributable to alcohol is large
and growing. In 2010, it was responsible for 5.5 per cent of this
overall burden, third after high blood pressure and tobacco smoking,
among 67 risk factors overall.
This study summarizes the results from population surveys, sales or
production data, and data on alcohol consumption not covered in
official records, from all countries, territories and regions.
Researchers also found that almost 30 per cent of alcohol consumed in
2005 was "unrecorded" alcohol - referring to alcohol not intended for
consumption, home-brewed alcohol, and illegally produced alcohol. In
some regions, unrecorded alcohol constituted more than half of all
"The amount of unrecorded alcohol consumed is a particular problem, as
its consumption is not impacted by public health alcohol policies, such
as taxation, which can moderate consumption," said Dr. Jürgen Rehm, a
study author and director of CAMH's Social and Epidemiological Research
"Improving alcohol control policies presents one of the greatest
opportunities to prevent much of the health burden caused by alcohol
consumption," said Dr. Shield. "To improve these policies, information
on how much alcohol people are consuming, and how people are consuming
alcohol is necessary, and that is exactly the information this article
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest
mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the
world's leading research centres in its field.
CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and
health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by
mental health and addiction issues. CAMH is fully affiliated with the
University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World
Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For more information, please