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Vodka a culprit in low-life expectancy for Russian men: Many drink to oblivion

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Russian men and large amounts of vodka combined make an equation for dying young, according to researchers who conducted an 11 year study. The researchers tracked 151,000 Russian adult males from three cities and followed their drinking habits and death rates for over a decade. What they found may surprise you.

According to AJC on Jan. 31, men who drank three or more half-liter bottles of vodka a week had a 35 percent greater chance of dying before age 55 than the other men in the study. From 1999 to 2010 researchers tracked the 151,000 subjects in this study from the cities of Bamaul, Byisk and Tomsk and about 8,000 of these men died.

The researchers then followed up on their causes of death and went back to their initial interview to view their drinking habits. Russian men do not fare well in death statistics compared to other civilized countries.

25 percent of all Russian men die before they are 55, in comparison to just one percent in the United States and seven percent in the United Kingdom. Russia ranks as one of the lowest 50 countries in the world for life expectancy for men, which is 64 years.

The number of men who drink three half-liter bottles of vodka a week in Russia are not clear. The average Russian adult drinks 20 liters of vodka per year in comparison to the average Briton, who drinks about three liters of spirits a year, according to lead researcher of this study, Sir Richard Peto of Oxford University.

There’s a culture of heavy drinking in Finland and Poland, but the death risk is nothing like what is seen in Russia. One of the top killers in Russia is alcohol and vodka is often the drink of choice. Researchers think it is the way that Russian’s drink that causes the death rate statistics to be so alarming. They drink beyond getting drunk, which is a dangerous habit.

It is not considered out of the norm for a guy to drink until you can no longer function in Russia. Changing this habit could help raise the life expectancy for the folks in that country.

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