Japan Launches Competition To Get Its Young Adults To Drink More Alcohol


  • The study was published in the Nature Medicine journal
  • A total of 512,000 adults in China participated in the study
  • Drinking patterns can increase a person's risk of liver cirrhosis

A new study published Thursday has shown that consuming any amount of alcohol increases a person's risk of developing at least 60 diseases.

Researchers from Oxford University's Oxford Population Health, Peking University and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences studied the effects of alcohol on Chinese men, and they found that even those who only drink occasionally were at risk for a good amount of conditions, including more than 30 diseases not previously linked to alcohol.

The research was published in the Nature Medicine journal.

"Alcohol consumption is adversely related to a much wider range of diseases than has previously been established, and our findings show these associations are likely to be causal," Pek Kei Im, a fellow at Oxford Population Health and lead researcher of the study, said in a statement.

The study was participated by a total of 512,000 adults from 10 different rural areas across China. They were interviewed about their lifestyles and behaviors, and researchers found that about a third of men who participated, as well as 2% of women, drank alcohol regularly or at least once a week.

They found that self-reported alcohol intake was associated with higher risks of 61 diseases in men, including 28 previously established diseases by the World Health Organization (WHO) as alcohol-related, like liver cirrhosis, stroke, and other gastrointestinal cancers.

Meanwhile, 33 previously not alcohol-related diseases were mentioned, including gout, cataract, some fractures and gastric ulcers.

The study was also able to uncover 1.1 million hospitalizations on occasional drinkers, with men who drank regularly being significantly at risk of developing diseases and experiencing more frequent hospitalizations compared to those who had only drunk occasionally.

Drinking patterns like drinking daily, in heavy "binge" episodes, or drinking outside mealtimes can also increase a person's risk of developing diseases like liver cirrhosis.

Genetic analyses of studied participants also showed that "for a dose-dependent causal effect on the identified alcohol-related diseases collectively," there's a 14% higher risk of established alcohol-related diseases with every four drinks per day and a 6% higher risk of diseases not previously known as alcohol-related illness and two-fold risk of liver cirrhosis and gout.

"It is becoming clear that the harmful use of alcohol is one of the most important risk factors for poor health, both in China and globally," Iona Millwood, an associate professor at Oxford Population Health and a senior author of the study, said.

The researchers said that their study could help doctors in East Asian populations determine the cause-and-effect relationship of alcohol on a wide range of diseases.

People toasting