WHO says alcohol use a big, growing public health threat
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said countries need to recognize that alcohol consumption is a big and growing public health threat and take appropriate action.
At a recent regional meeting, WHO said experts concluded that there’s a need for prevention and control of the noncommunicable diseases through reduction of alcohol-related harm.
A report on ‘’action to reduce the harmful use of alcohol’’ by African Health Ministers in 2008 said that ’’in 2000 and 2002, estimates of total deaths in the Region due to harmful use of alcohol showed a significant burden of 2.1% and 2.2%, and globally the harmful use of alcohol was responsible for 4% of the burden of disease and 3.2% of all deaths.’’
The report also highlighted the increases in alcohol consumption and changes in drinking patterns among adolescents, as well as the narrowing gap between men and women drinkers.
Dr Shin Young-soo WHO’s Regional Director for the Western Pacific described alcohol as a "chief culprit" behind the epidemic of noncommunicable diseases.
He said alcohol accounts for four out of every five deaths in the Western Pacific.
The WHO official also cited tobacco and unhealthy diets as factors exacerbating the diseases.
"Tobacco use, unhealthy diets and sedentary lifetyles play significant roles in this rising tide of noncommunicable diseases," Dr Shin said.
The noncommunicable diseases principally consist of cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases, cancer and diabetes.