Alcohol: Summary of ALCOHOL: Global Status Report on Alcohol 2004
2.2 National preferences for certain types of drinks vary greatly. For instance, beer is preferred in several Europeanand African countries, wine is preferred in the wine producing countries of Europe, and spirits are preferred in EasternEurope, Asia and some island states. However, consumers are increasingly opening up to beverages other than thosenormally produced in their country.
2.3. Not all alcohol consumption is reflected in official national records or surveys, for instance due to homeproduction and unrecorded trade. As a result, the national alcohol consumption is often largely underestimated ,particularly the developing world and Eastern Europe.
2.4. Traditionally made local beverages are very popular, particularly in Africa, as they tend to be cheaper thanfactory-made drinks. Because of the lack of controls, they can contain harmful substances that may cause death,blindness or illnesses. However, these traditional beverages generally have a lower alcohol content and play animportant economic and social role in the local community.
3. What are the drinking habits in various countries?
Meal with wine
3.1Alcoholconsumption can be measured by analysing production and sales statistics and by asking people abouttheir drinking habits. Such surveys have mostly been conducted in developed countries. They can revealheavy drinking episodeswhich would go unnoticed in overall statistics.
3.2 The share of people who abstain from drinking alcohol can vary greatly, ranging from a few percent in someEuropean countries to nearly the entire population in predominantly Muslim countries such as Egypt. Across cultures,more women abstain from alcohol than men.
3.3Heavy drinkingis a drinking pattern that goes beyond what is considered moderate or socially acceptable. InColombia and Georgia, for instance, up to 50% of all male drinkers are considered heavy drinkers. However,comparisons between surveys are difficult because they use different criteria.
3.4Heavy episodic drinking(also called binge drinking) refers to drinking occasions that lead todrunkenness. In
some countries, heavy episodic drinking is common among both men and women but generally it is more frequentamong men.
3.5 Individuals arealcohol dependentwhen obtaining and consuming alcohol takes priority over many other aspectsof their lives that they previously considered more important. Alcohol dependence is consistently higher among menthan among women. In some countries, alcohol dependence affects more than 10% of the population.
3.6 Gettingdrunkhas gained a disproportionate cultural importance among young people and the use of alcohol nowseriously threatens the health and well-being of many of them.Episodic heavy drinkingis becoming increasinglyfrequent, particularly among boys. In Denmark, for instance, more than half of 11 to 15 year olds are considered
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