It’s been known to increase the risk of developing more than 200 diseases, but it’s not a virus, a junk food or an illegal drug. It’s been long-known to be a root cause of many social issues, but you can buy it just about anywhere in the world and it’s widely available in Australia. In fact, we consume more than many other countries around the world.
So what is it? If you guessed alcohol, you’d be right.
While the average global consumption of alcohol is 6.2 litres (that’s pure alcohol, not 6.2 litres of beer or wine), us Aussies manage to put away a little under 10 litres of pure alcohol each year. Given that many Australians don’t drink alcohol at all or drink very little (the stats include those aged over 15 years) you can only imagine what this means for us Aussies who drink regularly.
However, we are not the world leaders in alcohol consumption. That title, according to the latest World Health Organisation figures, goes to Lithuania, which recorded just over 14 litres of pure alcohol consumption per capita. Next were Austria, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Russia, Hungary, France, Luxembourg, Germany and, rounding out the top 10, Poland.
While Australia wasn’t far behind, in 16th place, it seems we are falling behind Europe in the alcohol consumption race and that certainly is a small piece of good news!
But this all begs the question, where in the world do you go where the people don’t drink to excess? The answer is Indonesia, Turkey, India and Israel. While it’s fair to say large groups of people in these countries don’t drink for religious or cultural reasons, their alcohol consumption came in at under 3 litres per year, per capita. That’s around half the global average and more than 3 times less than Australia’s stats.
That’s a sobering thought!