Countries in Europe, particularly in Scandinavia, had the highest prevalence of people who said they now drank, while Middle Eastern nations dominated the list of countries with lowest prevalence, likely owing to alcohol's prohibition within the Islamic faith.
But researchers from the new study said those studies had limitations.
Overall, drinking was the seventh leading risk factor for premature death and disease in 2016, accounting for just over two percent of deaths in women and almost seven percent in men.
One of the study authors, Prof Sonia Saxena, a researcher at Imperial College London and a practising GP, said: "One drink a day does represent a small increased risk, but adjust that to the United Kingdom population as a whole and it represents a far bigger number, and most people are not drinking just one drink a day".
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The study included data on individual and population alcohol consumption from nearly 700 sources, in addition to nearly 600 studies on the risk of alcohol use.
A standard alcohol drink was defined as containing 10g of alcohol, or one unit. In this age group, the main causes of alcohol-related deaths were tuberculosis (1.4 percent), road injuries (1.2 percent) and self-harm (1.1 percent), the findings showed.
Professor Emmanuela Gakidou, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, USA, said, "Alcohol poses dire ramifications for future population health in the absence of policy action today".
However, the risk of developing all other health issues increased with the number of alcoholic drinks consumed each day and the harms far outweighed the potential benefits, the authors report.
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"The level of consumption that minimises health loss due to alcohol use is zero", the authors wrote. For people ages 15 to 49, alcohol consumption was tied to 4 percent of deaths for women and 12 percent for men in 2016. According to the Mayo Clinic, alcohol, though not totally risk-free, can reduce risk of heart disease, diabetes and having a strike.
Men in Romania who partake knocked back a top-scoring eight drinks a day on average, with Portugal, Luxembourg, Lithuania and Ukraine just behind at seven "units" per day.
At the time, England's chief medical officer, Prof Dame Sally Davies, noted that any amount of alcohol could increase the risk of cancer. "This level is in conflict with most health guidelines, which espouse health benefits associated with consuming up to two drinks per day". Alcohol is linked to over 20 negative and potentially deadly conditions including cancers, stroke, heart disease, and of course accidents (vehicular or otherwise) that tend to happen when people are drinking.
"The take-home message being that people shouldn't drink under the belief that it will lower their risk of disease", he said, "and those of us who opt to drink should minimize our intake if we wish to prolong our life and well-being".
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