Researchers at the University of Sheffield have found that there are substantially increased death rates from alcohol-related diseases in socioeconomically deprived areas of England and Wales.
The findings, which were published in the journal BMC Public Health, found that the mortality rates of men and women in the most deprived areas of England and Wales were over four times the rates in less deprived areas. The results contradict a number of previous surveys which have consistently maintained that there is no excess alcohol consumption in more socioeconomically deprived groups.
Deaths in the UK from diseases such as alcoholic liver cirrhosis, alcoholic pancreatitis, alcoholic gastritis, are increasing, despite attempts to inform the public of the dangers of binge drinking.
The research aimed to identify individuals who are most likely to die from an alcohol-related cause, to aid the future allocation of resources and the design of policies which aim to reduce the harm caused from alcohol.
The analysis was based on 18,716 deaths in men and 10,123 deaths in women from 1999 to 2003 and assessed the variation of alcohol-related mortality across areas of socioeconomic deprivation, urban-rural location and age.
The main findings are summarised below:
Dr Ravi Maheswaran, from the School of Health and Related Research at the University of Sheffield, and one of the authors on the study, said: "Deaths from alcohol-related causes represent one extreme of the physical harm caused by alcohol. This study highlights the large inequalities in alcohol-related mortality which exist between different socioeconomic areas of the UK. These differences should be taken into account when designing public health policies to reduce alcohol-related harm."
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