Tuesday, July 21, 2015. BMG: The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) reports that incidences of heavy episodic alcohol drinking has doubled among men in the region, and tripled for women, in its first regional status report on alcohol and health in the Americas.
30% of men drink as many as five alcoholic drinks at one occasion at least once a month since 2005; 13% of women do so. The rate of heavy episodic drinking is now one in five – 22%, higher than the global average of 16%.
The Americas has the second highest per capita consumption on average of alcohol after Europe, due to high availability, low prices and extensive promotion and advertising of alcoholic beverages, according to PAHO/WHO advisor Maristela Monteiro.
But an estimated 300,000 died from alcohol as a contributing factor in 2012 and over 80,000 would not have without the presence of the drug.
Recommended measures include increased taxes on alcohol; minimum age requirements for the purchase, sale, and consumption of alcoholic beverages; restrictions on where and when alcoholic beverages may be sold; and comprehensive regulation of alcohol marketing. However, no countries have fully adopted all these measures.
Seven countries in the Americas have no restrictions on alcohol sales to people under 18.
In 2010, the World Health Assembly approved a global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol, which seeks to reduce the devastating effects of alcohol consumption on individuals, families, and countries’ development.
A year later, during the 51st PAHO Directing Council, the ministers of health of the Americas committed themselves to implementing that strategy by approving a plan of action that seeks to reduce per capita levels of consumption and associated harms.
The plan of action calls for measures ranging from increased taxes on alcohol sales and restrictions on marketing to training primary healthcare workers on the detection and treatment of drinkers who are at risk.
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