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Keywords:

  • Alcohol;
  • countries;
  • current drinkers;
  • former drinkers;
  • Global Burden of Disease study;
  • life-time abstainers;
  • per-capita consumption;
  • recorded consumption;
  • unrecorded consumption

Abstract

Aims

This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of life-time abstainers, former drinkers and current drinkers, adult per-capita consumption of alcohol and pattern of drinking scores, by country and Global Burden of Disease region for 2005, and to forecast these indicators for 2010.

Design

Statistical modelling based on survey data and routine statistics.

Setting and Participants

A total of 241 countries and territories.

Measurements

Per-capita consumption data were obtained with the help of the World Health Organization's Global Information System on Alcohol and Health. Drinking status data were obtained from Gender, Alcohol and Culture: An International Study, the STEPwise approach to Surveillance study, the World Health Survey/Multi-Country Study and other surveys. Consumption and drinking status data were triangulated to estimate alcohol consumption across multiple categories.

Findings

In 2005 adult per-capita annual consumption of alcohol was 6.1 litres, with 1.7 litres stemming from unrecorded consumption; 17.1 litres of alcohol were consumed per drinker, 45.8% of all adults were life-time abstainers, 13.6% were former drinkers and 40.6% were current drinkers. Life-time abstention was most prevalent in North Africa/Middle East and South Asia. Eastern Europe and Southern sub-Saharan Africa had the most detrimental pattern of drinking scores, while drinkers in Europe (Eastern and Central) and sub-Saharan Africa (Southern and West) consumed the most alcohol.

Conclusions

Just over 40% of the world's adult population consumes alcohol and the average consumption per drinker is 17.1 litres per year. However, the prevalence of abstention, level of alcohol consumption and patterns of drinking vary widely across regions of the world.