Irish top Europe's binge drinking chart: EU survey

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The Independent Online

The frequency of binge drinking in Europe is highest in Ireland, Romania, Germany and Austria, with more than one in three people admitting to doing so once a week, an EU survey showed Wednesday.

The Eurobarometer survey showed that 44 percent of Irish people said they had five or more drinks at a time at least once a week, while 39 percent of Romanians and 36 percent of Austrians and Germans did so.

Thirty-four percent of people from Britain, Spain and Greece also imbibed heavily, according to the study.

It found that men are more likely to binge drink than women - 36 percent as opposed to 19 percent - and that the phenomena is highest among people aged 15-24, involving one in four people.

It is also likely to be more prominent among people who struggle to pay their bills (37 percent), than those who do not have such financial difficulties (26 percent).

More generally, the survey found that largest percentages of people who drink alcohol in Europe are in Denmark (93 percent), Sweden (90 percent) and the Netherlands (88 percent).

The lowest percentages are in Portugal (58 percent), Italy (60 percent) and Hungary with 64 percent.

Two in three Europeans say they have two drinks or less each time they partake, while one in 10 fall in the binge-drinking category.

The survey was conducted in October 2009 and involved 26,788 people in the 27 EU nations - just over 1,000 people in each - and can be found on the Internet at: http://ec.europa.eu/health/alcohol/docs/ebs_331_en.pdf

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