United States: Alcohol-Attributable Deaths Reach 88,000 Per Year For Working-Age Adults

English: Logo of the Centers for Disease Contr...
English: Logo of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an agency within the United States Department of Health and Human Services. White on blue background with white rays but no white “burst”. No detailed wording. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How to prevent AAD and YPLL – the CDC wants to know!

This section heading looks like alphabet soup; however, this week international headlines screamed:

  • Excessive drinking causes one in 10 deaths of working age adults (in the United States)
  • Binge drinking claims 88,000 lives per year in US, study finds
  • 1 in 10 deaths among U.S. adults tied to alcohol

And it all comes down to this: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated the national estimates of alcohol-attributable deaths (AAD) and years of potential life lost (YPLL) in the United States for working-age adults (20 – 64 years old).

So what are the exact numbers?  From 2006 through 2010 an annual average of 87,798 (27.9/100,000 population) AAD and 2.5 million (831.6/100,000) YPLL occurred in the United States. And according to the Washington Post:

The last similar study found 75,000 deaths and 2.3 million years of life lost in 2001, so things are not trending the right way. And the authors note that if anything, these figures may be on the low side, because they are based on self-reporting that “may underestimate the true prevalence of excessive alcohol consumption.”

More about the CDC’s study…

The CDC publishes an online journal PREVENTING CHRONIC DISEASE – Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy. This week Volume 11 offered this article: Contribution of Excessive Alcohol Consumption to Deaths and Years of Potential Life Lost in the United States.

The researchers used the CDC’s Alcohol-Related Disease Impact application to estimate the total AAD and YPLL across 54 conditions in the US, by sex and age.

Study’s results…

The above headlines and the related articles below provide the broad results, but here are some of the statistics offered when the researchers drill down into the numbers.

  • People who died as a result of excessive drinking typically shortened their life by 30 years
  • 71% who died were men
  • New Mexico had the highest number of deaths per 100,000  – 51
  • New Jersey had the lowest number of deaths per 100,000 – 19.1
  • Binge drinking (five or more drinks per occasion for men and four or more for women) accounts for more than one-half the deaths and three-quarters of the economic cost (about $223 billion per year)of excessive drinking

CBS News offers an overview of the study


If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Some closing thoughts…

A few months ago, we published a post about a CDC Vital Signs call to action: Alcohol Screening and Counseling – An effective but underused health service. For sure the statistics published this week by the CDC are grim, but we can take a constructive approach as individuals, families, companies, towns, cities, counties, states, and as a nation.  We can listen, learn, and  intervene when we see a problem. Work with our children and family members. Talk with our co-workers. Above all be honest with your health care provider, whether that is your family physician or the emergency department doctor who asks: “How many drinks do you have per week and per day?”

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