No health benefits from alcohol

Brussels 16.07.2022 There are no health benefits from alcohol consumption in people under 39, according to a new global study published in medical journal The Lancet.

The study suggests that alcohol recommendations should be based on age and location, with the tightest restrictions on males between the ages of 15 and 39, the journal continued.

For the study, researchers used alcohol estimates from 204 countries calculating that 1.34 billion people drank harmful amounts in 2020. They also used data from the Global Burden of Disease 2020 report to measure how much a person can drink before risking their health.

They found in every region, the largest portion of the population drinking unsafe amounts were males between the ages of 15 and 39.

Although the study concluded that there may be small benefits from some alcohol consumption for adults over the age of 40, there is no benefit to younger people.

“Our message is simple: young people should not drink, but older people may benefit from drinking small amounts. While it may not be realistic to think young adults will abstain from drinking, we do think it’s important to communicate the latest evidence so that everyone can make informed decisions about their health,” senior author Emmanuela Gakidou, professor of Health Metrics Sciences at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine, communicated in a press release on July, 14.

The study found that males between the ages of 15 and 39 can consume one tenth (1/10) of a standard alcoholic drink before incurring health risks.

But despite small benefits for older adults, the recommended daily intake for this age group remained below two drinks per day, according to the study.

“Even if a conservative approach is taken and the lowest level of safe consumption is used to set policy recommendations, this implies that the recommended level of alcohol consumption is still too high for younger populations,” the study’s lead author Dana Bryazka.

“Our estimates, based on currently available evidence, support guidelines that differ by age and region,” Bryazka continued. “Understanding the variation in the level of alcohol consumption that minimizes the risk of health loss for populations can aid in setting effective consumption guidelines, supporting alcohol control policies, monitoring progress in reducing harmful alcohol use, and designing public health risk messaging.”

A separate study published earlier this month found that people who drink alone early in life run the risk of developing alcohol use disorder later in adulthood.

Young people who drank alone at age 18 were 35% more likely to report symptoms of alcohol use disorder, while people who reported drinking by themselves in their early twenties were 60% more likely to report these symptoms.

Close to 25% of adolescents aged 18 and 40% adults aged 23-24 reported drinking alone.

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