Herald Scotland, 10th May: Irish Scots twice as likely to be hospitalised or die from alcohol, study reveals

May 16th 2016

Thanks to SHAAP for their weekly media monitoring.
This article was taken from Herald Scotland, 10th May

IRISH people in Scotland are twice as likely to be hospitalisedor die from alcohol-related diseases than white Scottish people, new research suggests.

And the risk for women from a mixed ethnic background is almost 100 times that of white Scots, said scientists from the University of Edinburgh.

The study also shows that people from a Chinese or Pakistani background had the lowest risks of alcohol-related illness or death.

Researchers say that ethnic variations were a “cause for concern” and lessons should be learned from the communities with low rates of death and illness from alcohol use.

The large-scale study is believed to be the first to use a reliable measure of ethnicity, taking data from the NHS and the 2001 Census.

It looks into ethnic variations in the rates of hospital admission and deaths resulting from alcohol use, and uses the rate of disease in the white Scottish population, Scotland’s largest ethnic group, as its benchmark.

Findings showed that compared with rates for white Scottish people, the risks of alcohol-related disease hospitalisations or deaths for Irish people living in Scotland increased by 82 per cent for men and 55 per cent for women.

The corresponding risks of alcohol-related disease hospitalisations or deaths for women of mixed ethnicity in Scotland increased by 99 per cent compared with white Scottish women.

For Chinese men or women, the risks of alcohol-related disease hospitalisations each decreased by around 45 per cent, while the decrease was 33 per cent for Pakistani men and 52 per cent for Pakistani women compared to white Scottish people. The report, however, did also say that they were at greatest risk of other liver diseases such as viral hepatitis.

The researchers said that they hope the findings will inform public health policy on alcohol use, pricing and taxation for the whole population of Scotland.

Dr Neeraj Bhala, who conducted the study at University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Population Health Sciences, said: “The ethnic variation in the alcohol and liver-related hospitalisations and deaths in Scotland found in this large-scale study is a cause for concern.

“We have important lessons to learn about preventing these alcohol- and liver-related deaths, and we should look to communities with typically low levels of alcohol consumption to help develop policies that benefit the whole population of Scotland.”

According to data from the National Records of Scotland, there were 1,152 alcohol-related deaths in the country in 2014, of which 784 were men, and 368 women.

Over the years since 1979, there have been roughly twice as many male deaths as female deaths.

In 2014/15, there were 35,059 alcohol-related hospital stays, 91 per cent resulting from an emergency admission.

Although alcohol-related deaths have declined in recent years, rates remain higher than they were in the early 1980s and higher than those in England and Wales

The findings from the University of Edinburgh study have been published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism.

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