Irish women rank in top 10 for global alcohol consumption

Alcohol use was ranked as the seventh leading risk factor for premature death and disability worldwide in 2016 and was

Experts conclude there's no 'safe' level of alcohol consumption after global study

Around the world, one in three people are thought to drink alcohol and it is linked to almost a tenth of all deaths in those aged 15 to 49.

David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge, also took issue with the findings, citing in a blog post some methodological concerns he identified in the study.

While the study's authors say that moderate drinking may safeguard people against heart disease, they found that the potential to develop cancer and other diseases offsets these potential benefits, as do other risks of harm.

The researchers drew on more than 1,000 studies to compile a picture of alcohol's health impacts and drinking habits among men and women around the world.

The study analysed data from 196 countries.

Although it claims in absolute terms that there is no safe level of drinking connected with alcohol, what it fails to acknowledge is that, actually, the risks of moderate drinking are in fact very low.

In a separate study, it was suggested teenagers who drink a lot of alcohol dramatically increase their risk of deadly prostate cancer later in life.

Having one alcoholic drink a day, containing 10 grams of pure alcohol (an average 100ml glass of wine, half a pint of beer, or 30ml of spirits, for example) increases the risk of developing a range of illnesses including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory infections and pancreatitis compared to not drinking at all.

"The evidence is adding up that no amount of drinking is safe", says study co-author Emmanuela Gakidou, a professor of global health and health metrics sciences at the University of Washington.

"We're used to hearing that a drink or two a day is fine".

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"I think alcohol is ingrained in our society, so to make the decision to not drink is really bold".

Ultimately, there is no "safe" level of alcohol consumption was the upshot.

"There is no safe level of driving, but the government does not recommend that people avoid driving. Are you also going to stop doing these things because of this statistical association?" said Naqvi.

As the base rate of risk was less than 1%, even drinking five drinks a day the risk only rose to 1.4%, that's not to encourage that level of drinking but it is important to qualify the risks suggested by the paper.

They found no evidence that light drinking might help keep people healthy and said there is no evidence that drinking any alcohol at all improves health.

Of the more than 2 billion people around the world consume alcohol, about 63 percent are men, the researchers wrote.

For populations 50 and older, cancers accounted for a large proportion of alcohol-related deaths, 27.1 percent for females and 18.9 percent for males.

Denmark had the highest proportion of alcohol consumers, 95.3 per cent of women and 97.3 per cent of men, and Pakistan and Bangladesh the lowest.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in its 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that if alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation - up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

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