A new study published in the journal Lancet reveals that no amount of alcohol is safe for people under the age of 40. The research also found that small amounts of alcohol may be suitable for people above the age of 40 if they have no underlying health problems. The study was led by Emmanuela Gakidou, a professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington.
According to the study, the dangers of alcohol for people under the age of 40 include personal injury, death from a car crash, and homicide. And some of the benefits for people above the age of 40 include reductions in health crises related to diabetes, stroke, and cardiovascular diseases. Gakidou said that earlier research emphasize the dangers or benefits of alcohol based on people’s age, but this latest research focused more on people’s sex.
Researchers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation utilized the data prepared by the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study for the research. The data covered a period of 30 years and included participants aged 15 to 95 from 204 countries around the world. The published report covered alcohol risks by global geographical region, age, sex, and year.
While the study defined a standard drink as 10 grams of pure alcohol, which might be a small 3.4-fluid ounce (100 milliliters) glass of red wine, a 12-fluid ounce (355 milliliters) standard can or bottle of beer (3.5% alcohol), or a 1-fluid ounce shot of spirits (30 milliliters) that is 40% alcohol by volume, some experts said some people should not even drink at all.
Amanda Berger, vice president of science and health for the trade group Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, said “no one should drink alcohol to obtain potential health benefits, and some individuals should not drink at all.”
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA) said women suffer more from the effects of alcohol than men. Other studies point to the fact that women are affected more by alcohol-related problems such as heart disease and brain damage than men; and that women who take one glass of alcohol per day increase their likelihood of breast cancer by 5% to 9%.
While health experts caution people to desist from alcohol, industry leaders said it is not possible for people below the age of 40 to not drink at all. Even Gakidou said it is unrealistic to believe that young adults will not drink, but it is best to present them with studies that help them make informed decisions about the effects of drinking on their health.