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Tuesday, 14 December, 1999, 16:09 GMT
Portugal tops world drinking league

portugal Portugese know how to party

The Portuguese have been labelled the world's biggest drinkers, following a survey carried out by French researchers.

Each and every adult in the country consumes a staggering 11.3 litres of pure alcohol a year, according to the Paris-based National Association for the Prevention of Alcoholism (ANPA).

The home of port is only just ahead of Luxembourg in the drinking stakes - the tiny country's population get through 11.2 litres of pure alcohol per person every year.

Evaluating the cost of alcoholism is very difficult, you have to take into account not only the direct cost but also the economic cost and the social cost
National Association for the Prevention of Alcoholism, Paris
France, famed for its dedication to its home-produced wine, was in third place at 10.9 litres but the survey pointed to a halving in wine consumption across the Channel in the past 30 years.

Though alcohol-related deaths in France had fallen from 18,000 in 1960 to 11,000 in 1997, the cost of treating people for alcoholism was estimated at 65billion francs (6.2billion) a year

The veracity of the test was, though, thrown into doubt by the claim that Russians - known for their love of vodka - only tied with New Zealanders in 19th place, with a modest 7.3 litres each a year.

Pinch of salt

Countries' world ranking and their annual alcohol consumption per person in litres
1st Portugal, 11.3
2nd Luxembourg, 11.2
3rd France, 10.9
8th Germany, 9.5
17th UK, 7.7
19th Russia/New Zealand, 7.3
23rd United States, 6.6
33rd Turkey, 1.1
The ANPA warned that the figures for Eastern Europe should be taken with a pinch of salt because "clandestine consumption is probably much greater in eastern countries" and statistical collection is less developed.

A spokeswoman for the association added: "We have decided to take Russia off the list because the figures are not believable."

The British scored a lowly 17th in the list, consuming 7.7 litres of pure alcohol each a year.

The survey had a serious message about the dangers of alcoholism, saying that 13% of patients admitted to hospitals in France suffer from the condition in some form.

The authors of the ANPA report said: "Evaluating the cost of alcoholism is very difficult, you have to take into account not only the direct cost - the costs of healthcare, accidents and the courts - but also the economic cost through absenteeism, and the social cost of effects on families and abuse of children."

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See also:
24 Nov 99 |  Health
Scientists' alcohol brainwave
05 Mar 99 |  Health
Alcohol abuse targeted
18 Jun 99 |  Health
Alcohol's innocent victims

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