The next time someone tells you that Americans are the heaviest drinkers, you can point back to this new study from the World Health Organization. In terms of pure alcohol consumed, the heaviest drinking country is Belarus, with the average person consuming 17.5 liters a year.
The United States doesn't even make the top 10, at 9.2 liters per year. The United Kingdom comes in at 11.6 liters a year per person, while the overall world average is 6.2 liters.
The WHO report called on governments around the world to do more to address alcohol consumption:
Worldwide, 3.3 million deaths in 2012 were due to harmful use of alcohol, says a new report launched by WHO today. Alcohol consumption can not only lead to dependence but also increases people’s risk of developing more than 200 diseases including liver cirrhosis and some cancers. In addition, harmful drinking can lead to violence and injuries.
The report also finds that harmful use of alcohol makes people more susceptible to infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and pneumonia.
The "Global status report on alcohol and health 2014" provides country profiles for alcohol consumption in the 194 WHO Member States, the impact on public health and policy responses.
“More needs to be done to protect populations from the negative health consequences of alcohol consumption,” says Dr Oleg Chestnov, WHO Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health. “The report clearly shows that there is no room for complacency when it comes to reducing the harmful use of alcohol.”
Some countries are already strengthening measures to protect people. These include increasing taxes on alcohol, limiting the availability of alcohol by raising the age limit, and regulating the marketing of alcoholic beverages.
Here's the full top 10:
1. Belarus - 17.5 liters
2. Republic of Moldova – 16.8 liters
3. Lithuania – 15.4 liters
4. Russian Federation – 15.1 liters
5. Romania – 14.4 liters
6. Ukraine – 13.9 liters
7. Andorra – 13.8 liters
8. Hungary – 13.3 liters
9. Czech Republic and Slovakia – 13 liters
10. Portugal – 12.9 liters
The Red Eye panel weighed in this morning, with comedian Joe DeVito, Tom Shillue, Andy Levy and Joanne Nosuchinsky trying to figure out why the U.S. isn't higher, and explain why the UK and Ireland didn't make the top 10.
Watch the discussion above, and check out Red Eye, weekdays at 3a ET.