These Are the Top 10 Heaviest Drinking Nations in the World — and Where the U.S. Falls May Surprise You

The World Health Organization released its global status report of alcohol consumption this week and is recommending governments take more action to prevent alcohol-related deaths.

The report found that alcohol consumption was linked to 3.3 million deaths worldwide in 2012, associating it with harmful behaviors and putting people at risk for more than 200 diseases and health conditions.

Here’s a rundown of the nations that drink the most:

  1. Belarus – 17.5 litres
  2. Republic of Moldova – 16.8 litres
  3. Lithuania – 15.4 litres
  4. Russian Federation – 15.1 litres
  5. Romania – 14.4 litres
  6. Ukraine – 13.9 litres
  7. Andorra – 13.8 litres
  8. Hungary – 13.3 litres
  9. Czech Republic and Slovakia – 13 litres
  10. Portugal – 12.9 litres
Image source WHO
Image source: World Health Organization

While the United States wasn’t mentioned on this list, it recently beat France as the biggest market for wine. The U.S. bought more wine in 2013 than other nations, but France actually consumes more wine than U.S. drinkers.

Overall, the average drinker in the WHO’s report was 15 years old (or older) and drank 6.2 liters of pure alcohol per year. Still, the WHO noted that less than half of the population it reviewed actually drank any alcohol, which means that those who do drink actually consume about 17 liters of alcohol per year. Sixteen percent engage in “binge-drinking.”

The United States reported seeing 9.2 liters of alcohol consumed per capita.

The types of alcohol consumed in each of the WHO's regions. (Image source: WHO)
The types of alcohol consumed in each of the WHO’s regions. (Image source: World Health Organization)

“More needs to be done to protect populations from the negative health consequences of alcohol consumption,” said Dr. Oleg Chestnov, WHO assistant director-general for noncommunicable diseases and mental health. “The report clearly shows that there is no room for complacency when it comes to reducing the harmful use of alcohol.”

Suggestions include age restrictions for consumption, taxes, regulation of marketing for alcoholic beverages and awareness and prevention campaigns.

The WHO described alcohol as a “psychoactive substance with dependence-producing properties that has been widely used in many cultures for centuries. The harmful use of alcohol causes a large disease, social and economic burden in societies.”

(H/T: Gizmodo)

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