W.H.O Launches Alcohol Study

Citing growing problems like binge drinking and increased consumption in developing countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) this week launched a worldwide study on alcohol use, Reuters reported May 25.

"Alcohol is now a global problem," said Catherine Le Gales-Camus, WHO's assistant director-general for noncommunicable diseases and mental health. "Member states are more and more concerned by the use of alcohol among the younger part of the population. New patterns of consumption, binge drinking, are major issues."

The last major WHO study of alcohol was done more than 20 years ago. Governments, health experts, and the alcohol industry will be consulted before experts establish the parameters of the study. The WHO has undertaken similar studies on tobacco and obesity in recent years.

WHO research presented during the recent World Health Assembly said that drinking causes at least 1.8 million deaths annually -- 4 percent of all deaths worldwide. "Public-health problems associated with alcohol consumption have reached alarming proportions and alcohol has become one of the most important risks to health globally," the report said.
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