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Primary care
Consuming 100 g/week or less of alcohol was associated with the lowest risk of all-cause mortality
  1. Ziming Xuan
  1. Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ziming Xuan, Boston University School of Public Health, Community Health Sciences, Boston, MA 02118, USA; zxuan{at}

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Commentary on: Wood AM, et al. Risk thresholds for alcohol consumption: combined analysis of individual-participant data for 599 912 current drinkers in 83 prospective studies. Lancet. 2018; 391:1513–1523.


Alcohol use is linked to injuries and poor health through complex mechanisms in various stages of life. Therefore, from national laws on the minimum age of use to recommended limits of use among adult population, countries rely on drinking guidelines that define safe drinking threshold in order to minimise alcohol-related harms. There is substantial between-country heterogeneity of safe alcohol use guidelines. Such variation reflects largely the lack of clarity about the ‘J-shape’ curve with respect to cardiovascular health, particularly among subtypes of cardiovascular disease. And there is ongoing debate on the consumption threshold associated with the lowest risk of all-cause mortality.


Wood and colleagues pooled individual-participant data of 83 prospective cohort studies in 19 countries from three large-scale data consortia.1 These studies were …

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  • Funding US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (R01AA023376).

  • Competing interests Not required.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.