Global alcohol intake has increased by 70%, study warns

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A large new study published in The Lancet found that, across the globe, rates of individual alcohol consumption have soared. This, the authors warn, is a dangerous pattern that policymakers must address.

The research — the findings of which appear in The Lancet — analyzes trends in alcohol intake in 189 countries from 1990–2017 and estimates the rates through to 2030.

Manthey and the team analyzed levels of alcohol consumption per capita (per individual), as well as the implications of this consumption, working with data sourced by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Burden of Disease study.

Moreover, the researchers tried to find out how many people had never drunk alcohol and how many qualified as “binge drinkers,” defined by an intake of 60 grams of pure alcohol or more at a single sitting.

At the global level, the team found that the total volume of alcohol consumed per year increased by as much as 70% between 1990 and 2017, from 20,999 million liters per year to 35,676 million liters per year.

“Before 1990, most alcohol was consumed in high-income countries, with the highest use levels recorded in Europe. However, this pattern has changed substantially, with large reductions across Eastern Europe and vast increases in several middle-income countries, such as China, India, and Vietnam,” explains Manthey.

Moreover, he adds, “This trend is forecast to continue up to 2030, when Europe is no longer predicted to have the highest level of alcohol use.”

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