25% of Russian Men are Dead by Age 55

A full quarter of Russian men die before their 55th birthday. Compare that to America's 1% and the UK's 7%. Why the disparity? There's a good chance it has something to do with the country's vodka consumption.

Top photo by christian.senger via flickr

Via USA Today:

Researchers tracked about 151,000 adult men in the Russian cities of Barnaul, Byisk and Tomsk from 1999 to 2010. They interviewed them about their drinking habits and, when about 8,000 later died, followed up to monitor their causes of death.

The risk of dying before age 55 for those who said they drank three or more half-liter bottles of vodka a week was a shocking 35%.

It's not clear how many Russian men drink three bottles or more a week. Lead researcher Sir Richard Peto of Oxford University said the average Russian adult drinks 20 liters of vodka per year while the average Briton drinks about three liters of spirits.

"The rate of men dying prematurely in Russia is totally out of line with the rest of Europe," [said lead researcher Sir Richard Peto of Oxford University]. "There's also a heavy drinking culture in Finland and Poland but they still have nothing like Russia's risk of death."

The researchers' findings are published in the latest issue of The Lancet.

[The Lancet via USA Today]