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Scand J Public Health. 2016 Aug;44(6):604-10. doi: 10.1177/1403494816653512. Epub 2016 Jun 9.

Disease burden attributed to alcohol: How methodological advances in the Global Burden of Disease 2013 study have changed the estimates in Sweden.

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Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden Centre for Epidemiology and Community Medicine, Stockholm County Council, Sweden.
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.
Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden



The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study continuously refines its estimates as new data and methods become available. In the latest iteration of the study, GBD 2013, changes were made related to the disease burden attributed to alcohol. The aim of this study was to briefly present these changes and to compare the disease burden attributed to alcohol in Swedish men and women in 2010 using previous and updated methods.


In the GBD study, the contribution of alcohol to the burden of disease is estimated by theoretically assessing how much of the disease burden can be avoided by reducing the consumption of alcohol to zero. The updated methods mainly consider improved measurements of alcohol consumption, including less severe alcohol dependence, assigning the most severe injuries and removing the protective effect of drinking on cardiovascular diseases if combined with binge drinking.


The overall disease burden attributed to alcohol in 2010 increased by 14% when using the updated methods. Women accounted for this overall increase, mainly because the updated methods led to an overall higher alcohol consumption in women. By contrast, the overall burden decreased in men, one reason being the lower overall alcohol consumption with the new methods. In men, the inclusion of less severe alcohol dependence resulted in a large decrease in the alcohol attributed disease burden. This was, however, evened out to a great extent by the increase in cardiovascular disease and injuries. CONCLUSIONS WHEN USING THE UPDATED GBD METHODS, THE OVERALL DISEASE BURDEN ATTRIBUTED TO ALCOHOL INCREASED IN WOMEN, BUT NOT IN MEN.


Alcohol; Global Burden of Disease project; disease burden; methodological changes

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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