New study suggests that people under 40 should not drink alcohol
It outlines that people under 40 face higher health risks from drinking alcohol than older adults.
People under 40 get no health benefits from drinking alcohol, with its consumption instead carrying significant health risks for the age group.
This is according to a new report from the Global Burden of Diseases study, a project based at the University of Washington in Seattle.
According to the report, which was published in The Lancet, people under 40 face higher health risks from drinking alcohol than older adults.
Meanwhile, people 40 or older who do not have underlying health conditions may benefit from limited consumption of alcohol.
Analysing drinking habits in 204 countries and territories, the study found that the number of people consuming harmful amounts of alcohol increased to 1.34 billion in 2020.
Nearly 77% of these people were male, with almost 60% of the harmful consumption being concentrated among individuals aged between 15 and 39 years old.
As part of the study, researchers examined the risk of alcohol consumption on 22 health outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
With this information, they then estimated the theoretical minimum risk exposure level (TMREL) - the amount of alcohol a person could drink before undertaking excess risk to their health compared with an individual who did not consume any.
For the study, a standard drink was defined as 10g of pure ethanol, the equivalent of a 375ml can or bottle of 3.5% beer, or a 100ml glass of 13% wine.
It found that the TMREL among males aged 15–39 years in 2020 was only 0.136 of a standard drink per day, while for females in this age bracket it was 0.273.
However, for adults 40 and over without any underlying health conditions, drinking small amounts of alcohol was linked to some health benefits.
Among individuals in this age bracket, the TMREL ranged from 0.114 to 1.87 standard drinks per day.
"We provide clear evidence that the level of alcohol consumption that minimises health loss varies significantly across populations and remains zero or very close to zero for several population groups, particularly young adults," the report states.
"At the same time, small amounts of alcohol consumption are associated with improved health outcomes in populations that predominantly face a high burden of cardiovascular diseases, particularly older adults in many world regions.
"Given these findings, we recommend a modification of existing policy guidelines to focus on emphasising differential optimal consumption levels by age, rather than the current practice of recommending different consumption levels by sex.
"This study highlights the importance of prioritising interventions targeted at minimising alcohol consumption among young adults."