WHO report 2014

The Global status report on alcohol and health 2014 from the World Health Organization provides a global overview of alcohol consumption.

It looks at patterns of alcohol use, including binge drinking, and the relationship between alcohol and over 200 health conditions. It also looks at alcohol policy and interventions and provides country-by-country profiles of patterns and trends.

  • Globally, alcohol causes approximately 3.3 million deaths every year (or 5.9% of all deaths); and 5.1% of the global burden of disease is attributable to alcohol consumption. In 2012, 7.6% of deaths among males and 4.0% of deaths among females were attributable to alcohol.
  • While alcohol is the leading risk factor for death in males aged 15–59 years, women are more vulnerable to alcohol-related harm for a given level of alcohol use or a particular drinking pattern. As well, alcohol use among women is continuing to increase and is linked to economic development and changing gender roles.
  • Worldwide, 61.7% of the population (ages 15+) had not drunk alcohol in the past 12 months, and 13.7% had ceased alcohol consumption (i.e. they have consumed alcohol earlier in life but not in the past 12 months).
  • Almost half of the global adult population (48.0%) has never consumed alcohol.

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Just over 70 countries reported nationwide awareness-raising activities related to alcohol and pregnancy. The report also discusses the role of health services in reducing alcohol-related harm and supports:

  • initiatives for screening and brief interventions for hazardous and harmful drinking at primary health care and other settings, including early identification and management of harmful drinking among pregnant women and women of child-bearing age;
  • improving capacity for prevention of, identification of, and interventions for individuals and families living with fetal alcohol syndrome and a spectrum of associated disorders

For more on global alcohol patterns and trends, see earlier posts: