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Alcohol and Noncommunicable Disease Risk

Current Addiction Reports Aims and scope Submit manuscript

A Correction to this article was published on 15 March 2018

This article has been updated

Abstract

Purpose of Review

Alcohol use is a major risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), annually causing more than 1.8 million deaths, and approximately 52 million disability-adjusted life years lost globally. This review examines the relationship between alcohol use and NCDs in the context of current United Nations (UN) and World Health Organization (WHO) initiatives to reduce the burden of NCDs as well as the resulting policy implications.

Recent Findings

The importance of alcohol as a major risk factor for NCDs is evidenced by its inclusion as one of only four behavioral risk factors (tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and harmful use of alcohol) into the World Health Organization’s Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs. Alcohol use also plays a major role in other strategic initiatives of the UN and WHO.

Summary

While these inclusions help enable policy measures to reduce harmful alcohol use, the Global NCD Action Plan in general disregards many diseases and injuries caused by alcohol, most notably liver cirrhosis and all mental disorders. Furthermore, the Global NCD Action Plan also fails to highlight interactions between risk factors; however, there is strong epidemiological evidence of the differential harms caused by alcohol use between poverty/socioeconomic strata. Thus, future policy plans should explicitly include consideration of health inequalities.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Change history

  • 15 March 2018

    The original version of this article unfortunately contained a mistake. There are two instances where the content in Fig. 2 was changed to “[CATEGORY NAME][PERCENTAGE],” instead of what actually should be shown.

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Rehm, J., Hasan, O.S.M., Imtiaz, S. et al. Alcohol and Noncommunicable Disease Risk. Curr Addict Rep 5, 72–85 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-018-0189-8

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