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Int J Epidemiol. 2017 Dec 8. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyx244. [Epub ahead of print]

The contribution of alcohol to the East-West life expectancy gap in Europe from 1990 onward.

Author information

1
Population Research Centre, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.
2
Department of Public Health, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
3
Laboratory of Demographic Data, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
4
Centre for Demographic Research, Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania.
5
Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute, The Hague, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Background:

Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries have lower life expectancies and higher alcohol-attributable mortality than Western European countries. We examine the contribution of alcohol consumption to mortality across Europe, and specifically to the East-West life expectancy gap from 1990 onward.

Methods:

We retrieved alcohol-attributable mortality rates (GBD Study 2013) and all-cause mortality rates (Human Mortality Database) by age and sex for nine CEE countries and for the EU-15 countries. We assessed country-specific potential gains in life expectancy (PGLE) by eliminating alcohol-attributable mortality using associated single decrement life tables. We decomposed the life expectancy differences between each CEE country and the EU-15 population-weighted average for 1990-2012/13 into alcohol-attributable and non-alcohol-attributable mortality.

Results:

In 2012/13, the PGLE for men and women were, respectively, 2.15 and 1.00 years in the CEE region and 0.90 and 0.44 years in the EU-15 region. The contribution of alcohol to the East-West gap in life expectancy was largest among men in Russia {2.88 years [uncertainty interval (UI): 1.57-4.06]}, Belarus [3.70 years (UI: 1.75-5.45)] and Ukraine [2.47 years (UI: 0.90-3.88)]. The relative contributions increased in most of the countries between 1990 and 2005 (on average, from 17.0% to 25.4% for men, and from 14.7% to 22.5% for women), and declined thereafter (20.2% for men and 20.5% for women in 2012/13).

Conclusions:

Alcohol contributed substantially to the East-West life expectancy gap in Europe, and to its increase (1990-2005) and decline (2005 onward). Diminishing alcohol consumption in CEE countries to Western European levels can contribute to mortality convergence across Europe.

KEYWORDS:

Alcohol; East-West gap; Europe; life expectancy; mortality

PMID:
29228198
DOI:
10.1093/ije/dyx244

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