World's heaviest drinking countries revealed - and the UK doesn't even make the top 10

A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) looked at levels of alcohol consumption in its 194 member states

People in the UK are among the most prolific drinkers in the world, according to a report released by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Britons over the age of 15 on average drink 11.6 litres of pure alcohol a year, according to the “Global status report on alcohol and health 2014”.

The report provides country profiles for alcohol consumption in the 194 WHO member states, looking at the resulting impact on public health and policy responses.

And it reveals that the harmful use of alcohol causes 3.3 million deaths a year worldwide.

Europe is the region with the highest consumption of alcohol per person, making up the entire top 10.

Belarus takes the top spot, with people on average drinking 17.5 litres of pure alcohol a year, followed by the Republic of Moldova where the figure is 16.8 litres.

Australia and Canada also have high levels of alcohol consumption, with people on average drinking 12.2 and 10.2 litres a year respectively. 

In the United States the figure is marginally lower at 9.2 litres.

But in northern Africa and the Middle East, the average figure is less than 2.5 litres of alcohol per person, with many countries having figures below one litre. 

The average figure globally is 6.2 litres of pure alcohol per person per year.

But as less than half the world population (38.3 per cent) actually drinks alcohol, this means that those who do drink consume on average 17 litres of pure alcohol annually, the report said.

The WHO warned that alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing more than 200 diseases, including liver cirrhosis and some cancers.

Dr Oleg Chestnov, WHO assistant director-general for non-communicable diseases and mental health, said: “More needs to be done to protect populations from the negative health consequences of alcohol consumption.

"The report clearly shows that there is no room for complacency when it comes to reducing the harmful use of alcohol.”

The report also points out that a higher percentage of deaths among men than among women are from alcohol-related causes - 7.6 per cent of men's deaths and four per cent of women's deaths - though there is evidence that women may be more vulnerable to some alcohol-related health conditions compared to men.

Dr Shekhar Saxena, director for mental health and substance abuse at WHO, said: “We found that worldwide about 16 per cent of drinkers engage in heavy episodic drinking - often referred to as 'binge-drinking' - which is the most harmful to health.

"Lower-income groups are more affected by the social and health consequences of alcohol. They often lack quality health care and are less protected by functional family or community networks."

The report also highlights the need for action by countries including national leadership to develop policies to reduce harmful use of alcohol, national awareness-raising activities and health services to deliver prevention and treatment services, in particular increasing prevention, treatment and care for patients and their families, and supporting initiatives for screening and brief interventions.

The figures represent the average amount of pure alcohol consumed per capita in each country between 2008 and 2010.

Additional reporting by Press Association

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

    £24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

    £22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

    Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

    Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

    Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions