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Alcohol Consumption In the Americas Is Higher Than In the Rest Of the World

The United States, Brazil, and Mexico are the countries with the highest mortality rates from alcohol consumption in the Americas .

Group of people raising their liquor glasses

According to a study carried out by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), alcohol consumption in the Americas is 40% higher compared to the rest of the world. Photo: Pexels

LatinAmerican Post | Vanesa López Romero

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Leer en español: El consumo de alcohol en las Américas es más alto que en el resto del mundo

Every November 14, World No Alcohol Day is celebrated, a date established by the World Health Organization (WHO) that aims to raise awareness about the physical and psychological damage that excessive alcohol consumption can cause and the easy path to alcoholism. Likewise, the date is a reminder that alcohol consumption increases the risk of suffering from one of these six types of cancer: mouth and throat, larynx, esophagus, colon and rectum, liver, and breast (in the case of women) .

The data

According to a study carried out by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), alcohol consumption in the Americas is 40% higher compared to the rest of the world. In Latin America alone, people consume 8.4 liters of pure alcohol per year, that is, 2.2 liters more than the world average. In that vein, the death rate from alcohol consumption is also higher. The study shows that between 2012 and 2015, 85,000 people died due to the harmful consumption of alcohol and 300,000 people died due to indirect causes related to its consumption, such as traffic or domestic accidents.

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The causes of death in people under 60 years of age are normally due to liver diseases (64.9%) and neuropsychiatric disorders due to substance dependence (27.4%). In addition, the study shows that although women are "more vulnerable to the harmful effects of alcohol", for men between 15 and 49 years of age, alcohol consumption represents the greatest risk factor for their death. On the other hand, the figures reveal a class problem, since people belonging to the lowest socioeconomic levels are the most vulnerable to the negative consequences of alcohol consumption.

PAHO assures that the United States, Brazil, and Mexico are the countries with the highest mortality rates due to alcohol consumption in the Americas. More specifically, in the United States, the figure is 64.9%, in Brazil 24.8%, and in Mexico 18.4%. In the case of the Latin American region, the countries that consume the most alcohol are Chile, Argentina and Venezuela.

Alcohol use during the pandemic

Although this report focused on the years 2012 and 2015, it was published recently, that is, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, so an analysis was also made of how it affected alcohol consumption. The data showed that this increased due to the sale of these products on social networks and through home services. This can also be related to factors such as confinement and loneliness caused by mandatory quarantines.

A study from the University of Michigan showed that in the United States the waiting list for liver transplantation increased by 50%. The reason? The increase in cases of alcoholic hepatitis. However, here it must be taken into account that alcoholic hepatitis usually develops after years of constant alcohol consumption. So, although the pandemic increased consumption and also the cases of this disease, we will be able to see the greatest consequences of this increase in consumption in a few years.