What is the optimal level of population alcohol consumption for chronic disease prevention in England? Modelling the impact of changes in average consumption levels

Nichols, Melanie, Scarborough, Peter, Allender, Steven and Rayner, Mike 2012, What is the optimal level of population alcohol consumption for chronic disease prevention in England? Modelling the impact of changes in average consumption levels, BMJ Open, vol. 2, Article e000957, pp. 1-10.

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Title What is the optimal level of population alcohol consumption for chronic disease prevention in England? Modelling the impact of changes in average consumption levels
Author(s) Nichols, Melanie
Scarborough, Peter
Allender, Steven
Rayner, Mike
Journal name BMJ Open
Volume number 2
Season Article e000957
Start page 1
End page 10
Total pages 10
Publisher BMJ Group
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2012
ISSN 2044-6055
Summary Objective To estimate the impact of achieving alternative average population alcohol consumption levels on chronic disease mortality in England.

Design A macro-simulation model was built to simultaneously estimate the number of deaths from coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertensive disease, diabetes, liver cirrhosis, epilepsy and five cancers that would be averted or delayed annually as a result of changes in alcohol consumption among English adults. Counterfactual scenarios assessed the impact on alcohol-related mortalities of changing (1) the median alcohol consumption of drinkers and (2) the percentage of non-drinkers.

Data sources Risk relationships were drawn from published meta-analyses. Age- and sex-specific distributions of alcohol consumption (grams per day) for the English population in 2006 were drawn from the General Household Survey 2006, and age-, sex- and cause-specific mortality data for 2006 were provided by the Office for National Statistics.

Results
The optimum median consumption level for drinkers in the model was 5 g/day (about half a unit), which would avert or delay 4579 (2544 to 6590) deaths per year. Approximately equal numbers of deaths from cancers and liver disease would be delayed or averted (∼2800 for each), while there was a small increase in cardiovascular mortality. The model showed no benefit in terms of reduced mortality when the proportion of non-drinkers in the population was increased.

Conclusions
Current government recommendations for alcohol consumption are well above the level likely to minimise chronic disease. Public health targets should aim for a reduction in population alcohol consumption in order to reduce chronic disease mortality.
Language eng
Field of Research 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2012, BMJ
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30045728

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Population Health
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