TORONTO – Canadians drink more alcohol than their American counterparts, and most of the world, according to the World Health Organization.
In a new report launched Monday, WHO is calling on governments worldwide to do more to prevent alcohol-related deaths and diseases after it found that 3.3 million deaths around the world in 2012 were due to harmful use of alcohol.
“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.”
Russia and its European neighbours had the highest alcohol consumption rates — more than anyone else in the world, while countries like Australia, France, Spain and Germany had similar liquor consumption rates to Canada.
“Globally, Europe is the region with the highest consumption of alcohol per capita, with some of its countries having particularly high consumption rates,” said the report. “Trend analysis shows that the consumption level is stable over the last 5 years in the region, as well as in Africa and the Americas, though increases have been reported in the South-East Asia and the Western Pacific regions.”
In 2013, a study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) found that Canadians drink more than 50 per cent above the global average.
When it analyzing what type of alcohol Canadians preferred to consume, 51 per cent said they preferred to drink beer followed by spirits at 27 per cent and wine at 22 per cent.
The report found that harmful use of alcohol makes people more susceptible to infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and pneumonia.
On average, every person in the world aged 15 years or older drinks about 6.2 litres of pure alcohol per year, according to the report. But, since less than half the population, roughly 38 per cent, actually drinks alcohol, “this means that those who do drink consume on average 17 litres of pure alcohol annually.”
WHO said it will support countries in their development and implementation of policies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. Some countries already have measures, which include increasing taxes on alcohol, limiting the availability of alcohol by raising the age limit, and regulating the marketing of alcoholic beverages.
© Shaw Media, 2014