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J Epidemiol Community Health 67:805-812 doi:10.1136/jech-2013-202574
  • Alcohol

Alcohol-related mortality in deprived UK cities: worrying trends in young women challenge recent national downward trends

Open AccessEditor's Choice
  1. David Walsh
  1. Glasgow Centre for Population Health, Glasgow, Larnarkshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Deborah Shipton, Glasgow Centre for Population Health, House 6, 94 Elmbank Street, Glasgow, Larnarkshire G2 4DL, UK, Deborah.shipton{at}glasgow.gov.uk
  • Received 27 February 2013
  • Revised 11 May 2013
  • Accepted 29 May 2013
  • Published Online First 18 July 2013

Abstract

Background Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland, has high levels of deprivation and a poor-health profile compared with other parts of Europe, which cannot be fully explained by the high levels of deprivation. The ‘excess’ premature mortality in Glasgow is now largely attributable to deaths from alcohol, drugs, suicide and violence.

Methods Alcohol-related mortality in Glasgow from 1980 to 2011 was examined relative to the equally deprived UK cities of Manchester and Liverpool with the aim of identifying differences across the cities, with respect to gender, age and birth cohort, that could help explain the ‘excess’ mortality in Glasgow.

Results In the 1980s, alcohol-related mortality in Glasgow was three times higher than in Manchester and Liverpool. Alcohol-related mortality increased in all three cities over the subsequent three decades, but a sharp rise in deaths in the early 1990s was unique to Glasgow. The increase in numbers of deaths in Glasgow was greater than in Manchester and Liverpool, but there was little difference in the pattern of alcohol-related deaths, by sex or birth cohort that could explain the excess mortality in Glasgow. The recent modest decrease in alcohol-related mortality was largely experienced by all birth cohorts, with the notable exception of the younger cohort (born between 1970 and 1979): women in this cohort across all three cities experienced disproportionate increases in alcohol-related mortality.

Conclusions It is imperative that this early warning sign in young women in the UK is acted on if deaths from alcohol are to reduce in the long term.

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