Drinking Any Amount of Alcohol Isn't Good for People Under 40, New Global Study Finds

Researchers found that drinking alcohol is especially harmful to people aged 15 to 39 due to increased health risks

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Consuming alcoholic beverages is not good for people under the age of 40, a new global study has found.

The research funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation forms part of a larger Global Burden of Disease study and was published in The Lancet medical journal on July 16.

It found that for people aged 15 to 39, there is no health benefit to drinking alcohol, only health risks.

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Males aged 15 to 39 also risked their health by drinking a little over one-tenth of a standard drink, the study discovered, while women increased risks by drinking about 1/4 of a standard drink.

The report also stated that about six in 10 people who consumed unsafe amounts of alcohol in 2020 were between the ages of 15 and 39 years, with nearly 77 percent of those being male.

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Researchers with the study also found, however, that consuming a small amount of alcohol for those older than 40 can provide some health benefits if the person does not have any underlying health conditions.

According to the report, this included reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes – all of which vary by age and region.

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"Our message is simple: Young people should not drink, but older people may benefit from drinking small amounts," said Emmanuela Gakidou, University of Washington professor of health metrics sciences at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, in a news release accompanying the global study.

"While it may not be realistic to think young adults will abstain from drinking, we do think it's important to communicate the latest evidence so that everyone can make informed decisions about their health," she added.

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