A shocking statistic concerning Russian men has garnered some attention recently, though this one has nothing to do with the upcoming Olympic games.
An article posted on TheGuardian.com on Friday, January 31st, detailed how a large number of young Russian men’s deaths have been linked to vodka consumption. Between the years 1999 and 2010, researchers interviewed over 150,000 men in various Russian cities concerning their drinking habits. When the researchers followed up with the same men years later, they had discovered that around 8,000 of them had died since the first interview.
From this initial selection of Russian men, the researchers concluded that approximately 35% of Russian men younger than 55 drink three or more half-liter bottles of vodka a week—which is the equivalent of more than 33 shots of vodka in a seven-day period.
The percentage of Russian men expected to die before 55 is high compared to both the United States and the United Kingdom. In fact, Russia ranks among the bottom 50 countries in the world for men’s lifespan, although alcohol is just one concern.
David Leon, a professor of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who was not a part of the aforementioned study, says vodka is higher in ethanol than many other forms of alcohol, which could explain part of the severe outcome in Russia compared to countries that consume less vodka. (In Russia, vodka is often homemade, and therefore cheaper to come by in smaller villages, something that is not necessarily common in other countries.)
Though the United States has the second highest vodka consumption in the world, the numbers are staggeringly lower than Russia’s. The average American consumes about 1.9 liters of vodka per year, whereas Russians consumes 13.9 liter, according to The Economist.
A social change needs to occur to curb the amount of vodka that is affecting the men in Russia, though I think all countries could benefit from paying a little more attention to the amount of alcohol consumed, making the world an overall healthier place.