THE LANCET: CHINA AND INDIA LIFTED WORLD ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION 70% IN THREE DECADES
By Staff Reporter
The world consumed 70 percent more alcohol in 2017 than in 1990, largely due to heavier and more widespread drinking in middle-income countries like China and India, according to The Lancet.
In 1990, the world consumed 20,999 million liters of alcohol, that increased to 35,676 million liters in 2017.
"Before 1990, most alcohol was consumed in high-income countries, with the highest use levels recorded in Europe," said lead author Jakob Manthey, a researcher at the Institute of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy in Dresden, Germany.
"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."
In China, men drank more than 11 liters of alcohol, mostly in the form of spirits and beer, while women drank three liters. The overall average of alcohol consumption in China is just over 7 liters.
That was less than in the United States, but a nearly 70 percent increase from China's consumption in 1990.
Researchers predicted that by 2030, Chinese adults are projected to drink more than 10 liters on average, while American consumption of alcohol is predicted to drop slightly to 9.5 liters.
The percentage of the population who drink will have also shifted in a decade, with 77 percent in China consuming alcohol at least once in a while, and 73 percent in the United States.
In India, meanwhile, a far smaller percentage of the population -- 40 percent of men and 22 percent of women -- drank in 2017. The overall average is less than six liters of pure alcohol.
But that has doubled the figure for 1990, and the researchers foresee an additional 50 percent increase by 2030.
Researchers also predicted that by 2030, half of all adults worldwide will drink alcohol, and almost a quarter will binge drink at least once a month, according to projections covering 189 countries.
"The world is not on track to achieve global targets to reduce harmful alcohol use," the authors said, calling for more aggressive counter-measures such as higher taxes and a ban on advertising.
The World Health Organization (WHO) goal is to reduce "harmful alcohol use" by 10 percent by 2025.
According to the WHO, alcohol is linked to over 200 diseases and accounts for more than three million deaths -- 75 percent of them men -- each year.
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