Saturday 17 August 2019

Irish women among world's heaviest drinkers amid big fall in teetotallers

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Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Irish women have been ranked among the heaviest female drinkers in the world, while there has been a big fall in teetotallers here, a global report reveals today.

They are fourth in a league table of 189 countries, outpaced only by the drinking habits of women in Lithuania, Moldova and the Czech Republic.

Ireland overall retains its reputation as a country of heavy boozers - coming in at fifth in the world rankings with adults consuming more than 13 litres of alcohol a year.

The sobering comparisons emerged in a study in the 'Lancet' medical journal showing globally alcohol intake increased from 5.9 litres a year per adult in 1990, to 6.5 litres in 2017 - it is predicted to rise further to 7.6 litres by 2030.

The world is not on track to achieve global targets to reduce harmful alcohol use, it warned. The authors call for effective policy measures including increasing taxation, restricting availability, and banning alcohol marketing and advertising to be introduced globally.

The new study by Jakob Manthey, TU Dresden, Germany, and Dr Jürgen Rehm, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada, measured per capita alcohol consumption using data for 189 countries between 1990-2017 .

Statistics relating to Ireland show the number of non-drinkers among women fell from 26pc in 1990 to 13pc in 2017.

Binge drinking - described as "heavy episodic drinking" which was defined as drinking six or more drinks at least once a month - has already increased by 20pc since 1990 in both men and women.

The figures reveal that one in three Irish adults were classed as binge drinkers in 1990 while the number is currently four in 10 (or 40pc) and is expected to rise by another 2pc by 2030.

Irish drinking rates are forecast as likely to remain stable up to 2030, but will not show any significant fall either, despite the many public health messages about alcohol abuse.

The study estimated that globally by 2030 half of all adults will drink alcohol, and almost a quarter will binge drink at least once a month.

Alcohol is a major risk factor for disease, and is causally linked to over 200 diseases, in particular non-communicable diseases and injuries.

Irish Independent

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