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Alcohol Binges to Blame for Premature Deaths in Russia

Published: February 1, 2014 (Issue # 1795)



  • Throughout this time, 8,000 participants died from alcohol-related diseases.
    Photo: Vedomosti

Alcohol is the primary cause of the high number of premature deaths in Russia, research published Friday has shown.

The report, which appeared in the British journal The Lancet, shows that 25 percent of Russian men die before the age of 55, with the majority of these deaths attributed to alcohol particularly vodka.

Some Russian men said that they drank up to one-and-a-half liters of vodka every week, the report said.

However researchers say the driving force behind the high death rate is not the amount consumed, but in the way Russians drink alcohol.

Related: Forget Vodka and Chemistry, Thank Mendeleev for Economics

"They binge drink. That's the main problem. It's the pattern of drinking not the per-capita amount they are drinking," said Professor David Zaridze of the Russian Cancer Research Center, BBC reported.

"Russians have always drunk a lot. They sometimes say it's because of the cold weather, but this is just an excuse. This is the nation's lifestyle that needs to change." Zaridze said.

The average life expectancy in Russia is 69 years, which falls just below the average world average of 70 years, according to a 2011 report published by the World Health Organization.

Related: Putinka Vodka Sponsors U.S. Women's Bobsled Team

During the course of the 10-year study, more than 150,000 adults living in three Russian cities were monitored by researchers from the Russian Cancer Center, Oxford University, and the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Throughout this time, 8,000 participants died from alcohol-related diseases including liver disease and alcohol poisoning. Many of the participants also died in accidents or after getting into fights.

The report also showed that smoking aggravated the negative health effects of alcohol, and that mortality rates were lower among women.

In 2006, Russia bought in stricter controls in a bid to tackle out-of-control drinking, with alcohol consumption having since fallen by a third, researchers said. The number of men dying before they reach their 55th birthday has also fallen, from 37 percent to 25 percent.

The release of the report coincided with the anniversary of Dmitry Mendeleev's doctoral paper "On Combining Alcohol and Water" in which he set the ideal proof for vodka at 40 percent.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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