Alcohol Consumption in India More Than Doubled Between 2005 and 2016: WHO

Total alcohol per capita consumption has increased globally, from 5.5 liters in 2005 to 6.4 liters in 2016, according to the WHO Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2018.


Per-capita alcohol consumption in India more than doubled between 2005 and 2016, according to a recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO). Alcohol use in India increased from 2.4 liters in 2005 to 4.3 liters in 2010 and 5.7 liters in 2016, the global health organization said in its Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2018, which was released on Sept. 21.

WHO projects an increase in per capita alcohol consumption in population over 15 years in half of the WHO regions, with the highest increase expected to take place in Southeast Asia, with an increase of 2.2 liters in India alone, followed by Indonesia and Thailand. The second highest increase is projected for the populations of the Western Pacific region, where the population of China is largest, with an increase in per capita consumption of 0.9 liters of pure alcohol by 2025, according to the report.

Per capita consumption of alcohol has increased globally, after a relatively stable period between 2000 (5.7 liters of pure ethanol) and 2005 (5.5 liters). Since then, total per capita consumption rose to 6.4 liters in 2010 and remained at that level in 2016.

Europe has the highest per capita consumption in the world, at 9.8 liters in 2016, even though it came down by over 10 percent, from the figure of 11.2 liters, since 2010.

However, diverging trends have emerged in different regions of the world.

In India, there has been a rise in people preferring spirits over other drinks or beer in 2016. About 92 percent of all alcoholic drinks consumed in India consisted of spirits and only 8 percent people drank beer. Among Indian drinkers, males over 15 years old had on an average 18.3 liters of alcohol annually, while women consumed 6.6. liters.

More than three million people died as a result of the harmful use of alcohol in 2016, about 1 in 20 deaths, according to the report. More than three-quarters of these deaths were among men. Overall, the harmful use of alcohol causes more than 5 percent of the global disease burden. Despite some positive global trends in the prevalence of heavy episodic drinking and number of alcohol-related deaths since 2010, the overall burden of disease and injuries caused by the harmful use of alcohol is extremely high, particularly in Europe and Americas, the report said.

Globally, an estimated 237 million men and 46 million women suffer from alcohol-use disorders, with the highest prevalence among men and women in the European region (14.8% and 3.5%, respectively) and Americas (11.5% and 5.1%, respectively). Alcohol-use disorders are more common in high-income countries, the report said.

An estimated 2.3 billion people are current drinkers. Alcohol is consumed by more than half of the population in three WHO regions – the Americas, Europe, and the Western Pacific.

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