A study published in medical journal The Lancet
this week has found that alcohol consumption
is increasing across the world. Between 1990 and 2017, the total amount of alcohol consumed grew from 21 billion liters to 35.7 billion liters, an increase of 70%. Low and middle-income countries are the driving force behind the trend with consumption going up 34 percent in Southeast Asia between 2010 and 2017. Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos saw alcohol consumption increases of 40 to almost 90 percent, some of the highest in Asia and the world.
India follows close behind Southeast Asia with an increase in alcohol consumption of 37 percent, or 1.6 liters, since 2010. In 1990, per capita alcohol consumption in India was at 2.8 liters, which has since increased to almost 6 liters, more than double. This trend is in connection with higher disposible incomes and fewer restrictions on bars and restaurants serving alcohol in the country and the region in general. The development has ramifications, as regular alcohol use can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Europe, once the continent where the most alcohol was drunk, has seen consumption rates drop recently amidst health concerns, and is projected to no longer have the highest levels of alcohol consumption in the world by 2030. Right now, European alcohol consumption levels are still higher than those in Asia, with many Europeans drinking upwards of ten liters a year.
Central Asia was the region where alcohol consumption was falling most noticeably. Kazakhs were drinking almost 30 percent less than in 2010, and Kyrgyz were even cutting down by 40 percent. The region has seen a revival of Muslim traditional values which has led some cities to prohibit and some citizens to shun alcohol.