Interesting facts from World Health Organization’s Report on Alcohol
For all the beauty that wine is and represents, there is a very dark, dangerous side of alcohol. Alcohol abuse is a semi-taboo subject among people in the wine industry. It’s not hard to see why an industry built on alcohol sales would avoid a subject that shows the negative effects of their products.
This is understandable. However, it is important to acknowledge the sometimes deadly effects of alcohol abuse and advocate the responsible consumption of wine. Unfortunately, there are very few wineries who mention this, and even fewer that support related organizations.
After reading the 94 page Global Status Report on Alcohol from the World Health Organization (WHO), it’s not hard to see that alcohol abuse is a significant problem facing the world’s population. According to the report;
- 2 billion people world wide drink alcohol
- 73 million have diagnosable alcohol use disorders
- There is a causal relationship between alcohol and 60 types of disease and injury
- Alcohol is reported as the cause of about 20 – 30% of oesophageal cancer, liver cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, homicide, epileptic seizure, and motor vehicle accidents (WHO, 2002)
Below is a graph of the global per capita consumption of alcohol from 1961 through 2001.
As you can see, total alcohol consumption increases up to the beginning of the 1980’s. There is a slight decrease, and then remains relatively stable. This would indicate a general stabilization of world wide alcohol consumption, but examination of specific regions shows a different picture.
- SEAR: South-East Asian Region
- WPR: Western Pacific Region
- EUR: European Region
- EMR: Eastern Mediterranean Region
- AMR: Region of the Americas
- AFR: African Region
This graph shows why the overall world wide alcohol consumption is relatively stable. On a regional level, those with the highest consumption are decreasing, and those with the lowest consumption are increasing. Another interesting fact is the positive correlation between increasing alcohol consumption and increasing level of economic development.
Top Wine Drinking Nations
The above table shows the highest beverage per capita consumption. Looking at the data, it is not a surprise that the countries at the top of this list are those that produce the most wine, with one notable exception: the United States.
There will be more to come from this report later.