Health

Americans drink 109 bottles of wine or 366 pints of beer every year, report claims

Americans drink 109 bottles of wine or 366 pints of beer every year – and has the fourth highest alcohol dependence rate in the world, report claims… so, take our quiz to find out if YOU drink too much

  • OECD report claims Americans are the 21st biggest drinkers in the world behind most of Europe’s countries
  • Report calls on governments around the world to do more to tackle dangerous binge and heavy drinking 
  • It claims each Americans drinks roughly 4 pints of beer or 2.1 bottles of wine on average each week 

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Americans drink the equivalent of 109 bottles of wine or 366 pints of beers per person every year and has the fourth highest alcohol dependence rate in the world, data revealed today. 

An Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report has called on governments around the world to do more to tackle binge drinking.

It claims each Americans drinks roughly 4 pints of beer or 2.1 bottles of wine on average each week, placing it 21st out of 44 wealthy nations analysed across the world. The US drinks more than Brazil, Japan and China.

But most major European nations drink far more than the US, with the UK averaging around 4.4 pints per week and the French seeing off as many as 2.7 bottles of wine a week. 

Latvia is the biggest drinking country in the world, with men and women on average drinking a staggering 512 pints a year — nearly 10 per week.

Americans drink the equivalent of 109 bottles of wine or 366 pints of beers per person every year, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data claims

The OECD report uses data from its own health statistics database from 2018, except in the case of Italy, Mexico, the US and Australia, for whom slightly older dates were used.

It suggests Americans drink slightly more than the OECD average amount of pure alcohol per year — 8.9 compared to 8.7 litres.  

Pure alcohol is measured as one millilitre for every percentage of the drink’s strength if there is 100ml of it. A litre of 37.5 per cent vodka, for example, contains 375ml of pure alcohol. While a pint of five per cent strength lager would contain 28.4ml of pure alcohol. 

Men and women in the US both drink less wine and beer than the majority of Europe, with the British average of four pints per week less than Austria (5.5), France (5.2), Russia (5.0), Ireland (4.9), Germany (4.8), Poland (4.8), Spain (4.7) and Portugal (4.7). 

But the US ranks as the fourth most alcohol dependent of all the countries reviewed, with 7.7 per cent of people diagnosed with the condition. Some 9.9 per cent of men are alcohol dependent compared to 5.5 per cent of women.  

This compares to a huge 10.4 per cent in Latvia (19.4 per cent in men, three per cent in women) — the country with the highest rate in the world — but is nearly four times more than the rate in the UK (1.4 per cent).

But Brits tend to binge drink more than most other nations, with 51 per cent of all alcohol consumed in the country drank by heavy drinkers — defined as drinking two pints for men or one pint of beer for women per day by the OECD. Mexico had a slightly higher rate of 54 per cent while the US had a rate of 35 per cent. 

Some 26 per cent of adults engage in binge drinking at least once a month. 

A spokesperson for the OECD, an international organisation which studies the economies and populations of developed countries, said: ‘Alcohol can be a source of enjoyment and is an important part of the economy in many countries. 

‘Yet harmful alcohol use is a leading risk factor for premature death, injuries and many noncommunicable diseases. 

‘Harmful alcohol use can also affect others, for example in the case of violence and foetal alcohol syndrome. 

‘These diseases and injuries, in turn, have an impact on healthcare budgets and the productivity of the labour force.’

The report also showed Americans are more enamored with beer than they are wine, with 45 per cent of all alcohol drunk in the country being lager, ale or stout and 18 per cent wine — compared to 36 per cent spirits.

The biggest beer lovers were Mexico (87 per cent of all alcohol), while Italy had the highest rate for wine (65 per cent). The highest rate for spirits were in Saudi Arabia (96 per cent), India (93 per cent) and China (67 per cent). 

DO YOU DRINK TOO MUCH ALCOHOL? THE 10 QUESTIONS THAT REVEAL YOUR RISK

One screening tool used widely by medical professionals is the AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Tests). Developed in collaboration with the World Health Organisation, the 10-question test is considered to be the gold standard in helping to determine if someone has alcohol abuse problems.

The test has been reproduced here with permission from the WHO.

To complete it, answer each question and note down the corresponding score.

YOUR SCORE:

0-7: You are within the sensible drinking range and have a low risk of alcohol-related problems.

Over 8: Indicate harmful or hazardous drinking.

8-15: Medium level of risk. Drinking at your current level puts you at risk of developing problems with your health and life in general, such as work and relationships. Consider cutting down (see below for tips).

16-19: Higher risk of complications from alcohol. Cutting back on your own may be difficult at this level, as you may be dependent, so you may need professional help from your GP and/or a counsellor.

20 and over: Possible dependence. Your drinking is already causing you problems, and you could very well be dependent. You should definitely consider stopping gradually or at least reduce your drinking. You should seek professional help to ascertain the level of your dependence and the safest way to withdraw from alcohol.

Severe dependence may need medically assisted withdrawal, or detox, in a hospital or a specialist clinic. This is due to the likelihood of severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms in the first 48 hours needing specialist treatment.

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