Alcohol Consumption & Life Expectancy

For some reason, by concealing the statistics about their per capita alcohol consumption, many governments around the world have made it difficult to discover the facts about the benefits of drinking alcohol.   The few sources that are available differ from each other by up to 50%.  For example, Alcoweb on the internet reports that Australia's annual per capita alcohol consumption in 1995 was 7.6 liters, whereas EB (the Encyclopedia Britannica) reported it to be 11.8 in 1968, a 55% differential.  The difference for the US is 48% (6.8 vs. 10.1), for Italy is 41% (8.8 vs. 15), for New Zealand is 35% (7 vs. 10.7).  Is it possible that alcohol consumption decreased by that much, and if so, what were the benefits?

In order to get an objective view of the benefits of alcohol consumption to the well being of society, and to remove the possibility of being biased by advocacy organizations and advocacy governments, an average between these two different sources is compared to the known life expectancy of 28 countries.  This way, much of the inflammatory rhetoric surrounding this controversial issue, wherein doctors are advising patients to reduce alcohol consumption when it's proven that this greatly increases the risk of heart disease, can be bypassed.

Data about male life expectancy and alcohol consumption which are available from these countries are correlated to create a straight line that presumes a linear relationship between these two factors.  This is not intended as proof that there's a linear relationship, because there are too many other factors at work.  The goal is to provide a framework from which to question the available statistics on alcohol consumption.  For example, Austria's alcohol consumption is reported by Alcoweb at 9.8 liters and by EB at 14.4 liters.  It would be expected that today's life expectancy might be based on the average  between these two figures of 12.1, or at least some number in between.  The linear projections shows that Austria's male life expectancy of 74.3 years would fit the projection at 11.6 liters, close enough to the average to believe this is a valid figure.

Similarly, the average for Germany is 11.7 which fits the projection at 11.3.  For Italy, the average is 11.9 which fits the projection at 12.6, for Spain 11.5 vs. 11.3, Switzerland 11.2 vs. 13, and the US 8.5 vs. 10.4.

Once this linear projection is established, each country's anticipated alcohol consumption based on its life expectancy can be compared to the data it reports.  If this difference is large, we can then investigate the possibility that the consumption figures have not been reported correctly for some reason, and compare that to the possibility that alcohol consumption in that country actually did change significantly in 3 only the last three decades.