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WHO Should Regulate Alcohol Consumption With Legally Binding Convention, Global Health Expert Says

The “WHO should regulate alcohol at the global level, enforcing such regulations as a minimum drinking age, zero-tolerance drunken driving, and bans on unlimited drink specials,” Devi Sridhar, a lecturer in global health politics at the University of Oxford, argues in a commentary published on Wednesday in the journal Nature, Scientific American reports. “[A]lcohol kills more than 2.5 million people annually, more than AIDS, malaria or tuberculosis,” and it is a leading health concern for middle-income populations, “greater than obesity, inactivity and even tobacco,” according to the news service (Wanjek, 2/15).

“In 2010, WHO published a document, the WHO Global Strategy to Reduce Harmful Use of Alcohol, that included strategies” to curb alcohol consumption, ABCNews.com’s “Medical Unit” blog notes, adding, “These recommendations, Sridhar argued, should become legal requirements.” She wrote, “The WHO is the only body with the legitimacy and authority to proactively promote health through the use of international law,” according to the blog (Carollo, 2/15).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.