Report: Koreans are biggest imbibers

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Report: Koreans are biggest imbibers

Koreans do indeed love their potent potables. The latest report from the World Health Organization, released last month, confirms what many have long suspected: Koreans are Asia’s heaviest drinkers, by far, and the country is the most booze-prone in the world except for a handful of Eastern European nations.

Adults over the age of 15 in Korea drank on average 14.8 liters of pure alcohol a year, according to the report. Japanese imbibed an average of 8.03 liters, and Americans got their fill with 9.44 liters. Among Korean drinkers only, the figure was even higher, at 19.89 liters of pure alcohol.

Eighty-one percent of Koreans’ alcohol consumption was from spirits, undoubtedly soju - a distilled beverage usually made from rice. Beer made up 18 percent of total intake, and wine was just 1 percent of consumption.

While the latest WHO report found Koreans’ penchant for the bottle to have remained stable since the last report in 2004, this year’s figure for total alcohol consumption among Koreans was nearly double from 2004 because of a change in the data source.

From the year 2000, the WHO began using industry data to calculate Korean consumption, a change from before when data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations was used.

“This marks an improvement as WHO now gives first priority to government data, then industry data and then FAO data,” said Paul Garwood, of the WHO, in an e-mail. “There is no ‘discrepancy’ as such, just now we have a new approach to the data.”

All those soju bottles have a high economic cost, according to the report. The total economic costs attributable to alcohol were 3.3 percent of Korea’s entire gross domestic product (PPP).


By Brian No [brianno@gmail.com][중앙일보]
WHO 188개국 조사

한국이 알코올 도수가 높은 독한 술인 소주·위스키 등 증류주의 1인당 소비에서 세계 최고인 것으로 나타났다. 세계보건기구(WHO)는 2005년 기준으로 세계 188개 회원국의 음주량과 음주 습관을 조사해 18일 공개한 보고서에서 이같이 밝혔다. 맥주 등 알코올 도수가 낮은 술까지 포함한 한국의 전체 알코올 소비량은 전 세계 13위인 것으로 드러났다.

 한국 성인 1인당 증류주를 통한 알코올 섭취량은 9.57L로 에스토니아(9.19L)를 제치고 1위를 차지했다. 한국인의 전체 알코올 섭취량은 성인 1인당 14.8L였다. 맥주를 통한 섭취량이 2.14L, 와인을 통한 섭취량이 0.06L인 것으로 밝혀졌다.

 성인 1인당 전체 알코올 소비량 1위는 몰도바였다. 몰도바 성인들은 한 해에 18.22L의 알코올을 마시는 것으로 나타났다. 체코(16.45L), 헝가리(16.27L), 러시아(15.76L)가 그 뒤를 이었다. 미국은 성인 1인당 9.44L, 중국은 5.91L, 일본은 8.03L를 각각 소비한 것으로 조사됐다.


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