Alcohol-related mortality and young women in deprived UK cities

19 July 2013

A new journal article from our 'three cities' programme of research discusses trends in alcohol-related deaths from the 1980s to 2011 in Glasgow relative to Liverpool and Manchester.

The study explores the influences of age, gender and birth cohort on alcohol-related mortality over a 30 year period in the three cities. 

There were increases in alcohol mortality among men and women in every city with deaths being significantly higher in Glasgow across the whole period. Male alcohol-related deaths were approximately two or three times as high as women across the three cities.

However, the pace and timing of the increase in alcohol mortality was similar for both sexes with no evidence that alcohol-related deaths in women lagged behind those of men – unlike other causes such as smoking.

In addition to this, a worrying trend was identified among young women born between 1970 and 1979. Alcohol-related mortality in these young women has been increasing at a much faster rate than for men. The alcohol related mortality rate has plateaued or fallen in men from this and other birth cohorts but the rate in women from the 1970s birth cohort has continued to rise, with no evidence of plateauing. 

The article concludes that it imperative that this early warning sign in young women in the three cities is acted upon, if deaths from alcohol are to reduce in the long term.

More information

These findings have sparked some media interest:

BBC News

The Guardian

The Scotsman

The Herald

The Telegraph 

Sky News (including a video of Deborah Shipton discussing the research)

STV News

Channel 4 News

ITV News

Huffington Post

ITN News

The Independent

Daily Express

Hear Bruce Whyte discussing the research on BBC Radio Five Live (at 39 mins)

Comment from Sally Marlow from Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College, London on BBC Radio 4 Today Programme (at 1:15) )

The article, ‘Alcohol-related mortality in deprived UK cities: worrying trends in young women challenge recent national downward trends’, was published in Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health and is available through Open Access here.

Read more on the 'three cities' research programme here.

Public health information on alcohol is available on the Drink Smarter website.

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