AIMS: (i) To compare actual developments of alcohol-related harm in Sweden with estimates derived prior to major policy changes in 1995 and (ii) to estimate the effects on consumption and alcohol-related harm of reducing alcohol prices in Sweden. DESIGN: Alcohol effect parameters expressing the strength of the relationship between overall alcohol consumption and different alcohol-related harms were obtained from ARIMA (Auto Regressive Integrated Moving Average) time-series analyses. MEASUREMENTS: Measures of Swedish alcohol-related mortality (liver cirrhosis, alcoholic psychosis, alcoholism and alcohol poisoning), accident mortality, suicide, homicide, assaults and sickness absence from 1950 to 1995. FINDINGS: Previous estimates of alcohol-related harm based on changes in alcohol consumption for the period 1994-2002 for Sweden were, in some cases (e.g. violent assaults and accidents), relatively close to the actual harm levels, whereas in other cases (e.g. homicides, alcohol-related mortality and suicide) they diverged from observed harm levels. A tax cut by 40% on spirits and by 15% on wine is estimated to increase total per capita alcohol consumption by 0.35 litre. This increase is estimated to cause 289 additional deaths, 1627 additional assaults and 1.6 million additional sickness absence days. CONCLUSIONS: The estimates of future changes in harm based upon even relatively modest increases in alcohol consumption produce considerable negative effects, with large economic consequences for the Swedish economy. The additional alcohol-related deaths, for instance, amount to more than half the number of yearly traffic fatalities in Sweden.
AIM: The purpose of the study was to assess the relationship between aggregate alcohol consumption and sickness absence in Sweden. DATA AND METHODS: Two indicators of sickness absence were used, one based on sickness insurance data, the other on data from the labour force surveys. Alcohol consumption was gauged by sales of pure alcohol (100%) per inhabitant 15 years of age and older. Because changes in the economy may affect alcohol consumption as well as sickness absence, two macroeconomic indicators were included as control variables: unemployment and real wages. The study period was 1935-2002. The data were analysed through the Box-Jenkins method for time-series analyses. FINDINGS: A 1-litre increase in total consumption was associated with a 13% increase in sickness absence among men (P
BACKGROUND: There is only one previous study addressing the relationship between population drinking and sickness absence. That study, based on Swedish time-series data, showed a statistically significant relationship between per capita alcohol consumption and the male sickness absence rate. Estimates suggested that a 1-l increase in consumption was associated with a 13% increase in sickness absence among men. In the present study, we aim at replicating and expanding the Swedish study on the basis of data for Norway. METHODS: The outcome measure comprised annual data for Norway on registered sickness absence for manual employees covering the period 1957-2001. The unemployment rate was included as a control, as this factor may be correlated with alcohol as well as sickness absence. Alcohol consumption was gauged by sales of alcohol (total and beverage specific by beer, spirits and wine) per inhabitant 15 years and above. The data were analysed using the Box-Jenkins method for time-series analysis. RESULTS: The results suggested that a 1-l increase in total consumption was associated with a 13% increase in sickness absence among men (P
BACKGROUND: Many important social determinants of health are also the focus for social policies. Welfare states contribute to the resources available for their citizens through cash transfer programmes and subsidised services. Although all rich nations have welfare programmes, there are clear cross-national differences with respect to their design and generosity. These differences are evident in national variations in poverty rates, especially among children and elderly people. We investigated to what extent variations in family and pension policies are linked to infant mortality and old-age excess mortality. METHODS: Infant mortality rates and old-age excess mortality rates were analysed in relation to social policy characteristics and generosity. We did pooled cross-sectional time-series analyses of 18 OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries during the period 1970-2000 for family policies and 1950-2000 for pension policies. FINDINGS: Increased generosity in family policies that support dual-earner families is linked with lower infant mortality rates, whereas the generosity in family policies that support more traditional families with gainfully employed men and homemaking women is not. An increase by one percentage point in dual-earner support lowers infant mortality by 0.04 deaths per 1000 births. Generosity in basic security type of pensions is linked to lower old-age excess mortality, whereas the generosity of earnings-related income security pensions is not. An increase by one percentage point in basic security pensions is associated with a decrease in the old age excess mortality by 0.02 for men as well as for women. INTERPRETATION: The ways in which social policies are designed, as well as their generosity, are important for health because of the increase in resources that social policies entail. Hence, social policies are of major importance for how we can tackle the social determinants of health.
Comment In: Lancet. 2008 Nov 8;372(9650):160718994644
Comment In: Lancet. 2008 Nov 8;372(9650):1609-1018994647