Canada’s Booze Burden

alcohol world mapCanadians drink quite a bit of booze, on average. We are not alone. Many countries around the world drink as much or more than us. So the fact that alcohol is linked to so many chronic diseases is therefore an international problem. Even an ‘epidemic’, if you want to use a scary word, but it’s not a far cry from the truth.

Despite the fact that a majority of adults across the globe do not drink, alcohol is now recognized as the third highest causal factor in the global burden of disease – an umbrella term for the entire swath of factors contributing to our mortality. So the drinkers of the world are therefore straining with the weight of alcohol-related disease such as cancer or liver cirrhosis.

A recent study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health illustrates how our country fits into the mix.

As Canadians, it appears we are working hard to down our share, consuming 50 per cent more alcohol than the global average – we drink just under 10 liters of total alcohol per year, per person. That’s a measure of the volume of PURE alcohol, or just the ‘active ingredient’, as it were. Furthermore, we binge drink more than many other countries, drinking ‘to get drunk’, it seems, rather than sipping to savor the flavor.

Author: Doug Ironside RN

Doug is a Registered Nurse (PHN) with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

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