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Alcohol consumption has a major effect on European mortality rates

09 January 2019
Thesis Sergi Trias Llimós
Thesis Sergi Trias Llimós

The high level of alcohol consumption in Europe is a major concern for public health. Differences in alcohol consumption and drinking patterns within Europe – mainly Eastern European men are problematic drinkers – play an important role in the observed differences in mortality rates between European countries, concludes Sergi Trias Llimós.

He studied the long-term developments in alcohol-related mortality in Europe, and its effect on differences in total mortality. He analyzed the differences between countries, genders, calendar years and birth generations using various demographic and epidemiological data and methods.

Disproportionate alcohol-related mortality in Eastern Europe

Trias Llimós shows that alcohol related mortality development vary widely across Europe, with strikingly high alcohol-related mortality levels and irregular trends among Eastern European men. Recently, a trend of gradual decline in mortality has been observed in countries with high alcohol-related mortality. In addition, countries differ in terms of birth generations with the highest risk of alcohol-related mortality. Trias Llimós concludes that these important differences in alcohol-related mortality between countries, genders, generations and different periods are partly explained by differences in drinking cultures and socio-economic circumstances.

Alcohol-related mortality had a substantial effect on overall mortality levels in Europe and developments in time, particularly among men in Eastern Europe. In 2012-2013, alcohol-related mortality contributed about 20% to the differences in life expectancy between Eastern and Western Europe and at least 15% to the differences in life expectancy between men and women in Eastern European countries.

Alcohol mortality on the agenda

The alcohol problem in Europe deserves further attention in our society and among policymakers, according to the conclusions of Trias Llimós. Alcohol-related health interventions can not only improve the overall health situation in Europe but also reduce health inequalities within Europe.

More information

This study by Trias Llimós is part of the Vidi-research ‘Future Mortality’ of prof. Fanny Janssen, which is financed by NWO.

Contact: Sergi Trias Llimós and Fanny Janssen

View a video portrait of Fanny Janssen and her research

Last modified:04 March 2019 4.16 p.m.
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