High death rates among young Russian men may be connected to the amount of vodka they drink, according to a new study published Friday
The long-term study of adults in three Russian cities found that the risk of death at ages 35 to 54 for Russian male smokers was 16 percent if they drank less than one bottle of vodka a week, but jumped to 35 percent if they drank three or more bottles of the liquor each week.
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“Russian adults have extraordinarily high rates of premature death,” the study said, pointing to 2005 mortality figures that found 37 percent of Russian men died before the age of 55. That compares to just 7 percent of men who die young in the United Kingdom, the study said.
The study delved into connections between early death and vodka use, also finding a correlation amongst smoking and drinking large amounts of vodka.
“Although vodka consumption correlated with manual work and lack of education, its main correlate was smoking; moreover, mean cigarette consumption per smoker was greater in the high-vodka [group] than in the low-vodka group,” the study said.
One challenge in the study was tracking vodka consumption because of issues with self-reporting or because consumption varied considerably from year to year, the study authors said. The long-term approach of the study, which consisted of interviewing 200,000 people from 1999 to 2008, involved re-interviewing many of the participants in 2010 to get a better handle on how use varied.
"Because some who said they were light drinkers later became heavy drinkers, and vice-versa, the differences in mortality that we observed must substantially underestimate the real hazards of persistent heavy drinking,” said Dr. Paul Brennan, section head of genetics at the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, CBS News reported
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