absurd graph [if relevant warning]

A pretty silly graph opposing countries with an overwhelming majority of non-Muslims and countries with an overwhelming majority of Muslims in terms of alcohol consumption. Surprise, surprise! And not incorporating the average amount or anything useful… In a Guardian article reporting on a Lancet paper about the lack of health benefit from drinking even moderate amounts of alcohol. Although, as pointed out by David Spiegelhalter at the bottom of the article, an increased risk of 0.5% associated with one unit of alcohol a day [half a pint]  , as opposed to 7% for two units [a pint!], should not get occasional drinkers too worried:  “Come to think of it, there is no safe level of living, but nobody would recommend abstention.”

4 Responses to “absurd graph [if relevant warning]”

  1. Thank you Ewan: I was also reading this Guardian article half-an-hour ago, while sipping my pint. Of tea… I also noticed David’s move towards a less positive view of daily alcohol consumption.

  2. Ewan Cameron Says:

    I enjoyed David’s pithy quotable to balance the authors’ overstatement of their work in the Lancet (the suggestion that because of their finding of a tiny increase in absolute risks from having a single drink a day that governments should look at policies to abolish even this level of consumption). However, I wish that David would have also given more thoughtful feedback on the state of research: the Lancet paper rather generously includes in its model some substantial positive effects of alcohol consumption at low dose against heart disease and stroke, which are very likely spurious (according to Mendelian randomisation studies etc.). So the trivially small absolute risks reported are effectively just very conservative lower bounds.

    Disclaimer: I am an author on several IHME GBD papers, but not this one and I don’t know the lead author.

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