Alcohol Consumption and Burden of Disease: Germany and Switzerland

  • M. Roerecke
  • J. Rehm
  • J. Patra
Reference work entry


We estimated the burden of disease attributable to alcohol in Germany and Switzerland for the year 2002. We calculated disease-specific attributable fractions for diseases and conditions based on relative risk estimates from meta-analyzes, prevalence of exposure from the Global Alcohol Database and large, representative surveys, and obtained  mortality and burden of disease data from the World Health Organization. Comparatively high alcohol consumption in Switzerland caused substantial burden, in particular among Swiss women. Although alcohol consumption was high among women in Germany and Europe as well, the burden among women was much less compared to Switzerland. For men in both countries comparable burden of disease was estimated. Both detrimental and beneficial effects of alcohol consumption were considered in this analysis. Because effective and cost-effective interventions are available, the burden of disease due to alcohol should be a focus of public health policy development. Specific measures are discussed.


Alcohol Consumption Cardioprotective Effect High Density Lipoprotein Relative Risk Estimate Attributable Fraction 
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List of Abbreviations:


disability-adjusted life years, a health gap measure combining years of life lost and years lived with a disability, therefore taking into account mortality and morbidity


years of life lost, a health gap measure taking into account the time of deaths relative to the normative life expectancy


number of deaths

CRA 2000

comparative risk analysis study for the year 2000, conducted as part of the global burden of disease study by the World Health Organization


attributable fraction, the fraction of disease outcome, for example, that is caused by a specific risk factor, in this case alcohol


World Health Organization;  GBD, global burden of disease study conducted by the World Health Organization describing the effect of 26 risk factors on burden of disease around the world


global alcohol database, maintained by the WHO. Alcohol consumption indicators are updated annually for each member state based on data from multiple sources; Europe A, WHO subregion defined by very low child and very low adult mortality


estimated adult (15 years and above) per capita alcohol consumption (in liters of pure alcohol consumed within one year)


high density lipoprotein



This study has been supported by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH-Project “Alkoholbedingte Mortalitaet und Krankheitslast in der Schweiz – von der Epidemiologie zu Empfehlungen hinsichtlich alkoholpolitischer Massnahmen”; contract 05.001178). The methodology was in part developed for the Comparative Risk Assessment for Alcohol, financially supported by the Swiss FOPH, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction, a WHO collaborative centre.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Roerecke
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. Rehm
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. Patra
    • 1
  1. 1.Social, Prevention and Health Policy Research DepartmentCentre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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