People in the South Caucasus drink in moderation according to WHO report
16 May 2014

A recent report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has shed light on the drinking habits of people all over the world. The detailed statistics in the report indicate that people in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia drink in moderation despite the fact these countries are famous for the production of wine, brandy and vodka. Compared to their northern neighbours one can say that the Caucasians are indeed responsible drinkers, consuming only a fraction of the amount consumed in Russia and other former Soviet republics..

According to the WHO report the total recorded and unrecorded alcohol per capita consumption (APC) in 2010 in liters of pure alcohol amongst the adult population (15+ years), was for Armenia 5.3, for Azerbaijan 2.3 and for Georgia 7.7. In comparison for Russia the consumption level risies to 15.1. It is 13.9 in Ukraine and 16.8 in Moldova. When one looks at the average consumption whilst excluding those who do not drink at all, the annual consumption per capita is 8.3 liters in Armenia, 5.2 liters in Azerbaijan and 21.2 liters in Georgia., compared with 22.3 liters in Russia, 20.3 liters in Ukraine and 25.4 liters in Moldova.

On average every person in the world aged 15 years or older drinks 6.2 liters of pure alcohol per year. But as less than half the population (38.3%) actually drinks alcohol, this means that those who do drink consume on average 17 liters of pure alcohol annually. According to these figures Armenians and Azerbaijanis consume less alcohol than the world average, whilst Georgians slightly more.

Worldwide, 3.3 million deaths in 2012 were due to harmful use of alcohol, according to the WHO report. Alcohol consumption can not only lead to dependence but also increases people's risk of developing more than 200 diseases including liver cirrhosis and some cancers. In addition, harmful drinking can lead to violence and injuries.

The report also finds that harmful use of alcohol makes people more susceptible to infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and pneumonia.

The "Global status report on alcohol and health 2014" provides country profiles for alcohol consumption in the 194 WHO Member States, the impact on public health and policy responses.

"More needs to be done to protect populations from the negative health consequences of alcohol consumption," says 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."

Some countries are already strengthening measures to protect people. These include increasing taxes on alcohol, limiting the availability of alcohol by raising the age limit, and regulating the marketing of alcoholic beverages.

You can read the full report by the WHO here.

Source: with the World Health Organisation.