WHO Results: Europeans Are The World’s Biggest Drinkers

Europeans love to consume alcohol, according to a recent report by the World Health Organization the average person will consume 12.5 liters of pure alcohol each year, an amount equivalent to three glasses of wine a day.

12.5 litres is nearly double the world average and in some parts of the country consumption is even higher.

Zsuzsanna Jakab, the WHO’s regional director for Europe told Reuters that the results are a “dubious honour” that has “clear, recognized health consequences for drinkers, those around them and society.”

When broken down by sub-region the WHO study found the heaviest drinkers in central-eastern and eastern Europe where they consume 14.5 liters of pure alcohol annually. Southern Europeans drinkers on the other hand consume 11.2 liters while Nordic country drinkers consume 10.4 liters.


The study also examined how people consume alcohol, for example drinking in public places, drinking outside of mealtime and “binge” drinking. According to the World Health Organization Nordic countries scored with one of the “worst” scores in terms of “hazardous” drinking with a score of just 2.8 in which 1 is least detrimental and 5 is most detrimental. In comparison eastern Europe scored 2.9 while Central-Western and Western European and Southern European countries scored 1.5 and 1.1 overall.

WHO warns in its study that countries with higher drinking rates also suffer more drinking related ailments including alcohol dependence, liver disease, alcohol-induced chronic pancreatitis, alcohol poisoning and other disorders. For example in 2004 12 percent of all deaths in people 15-64 years old were attributed to alcohol. Alcohol consumed by others that led to death, such ad DUI accidents accounted for 3 percent of deaths during the same period.

According to the study 2.5 million people die each year because of harmful alcohol abuse policies, approximately 3.8 percent of all deaths worldwide.