"Our country is one of the most dangerous on the American continent for its propensity towards excessive consumption" - La Jornada
A merchant in the artisan famous town of Tlaquepaque, just outside of Guadalajara, displays offerings
Per capita consumption of alcohol is higher in Mexico than anywhere else on the planet, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported.
The average Mexican male consumes 32 liters of pure alcohol annually, and the average female 18. Those numbers represent approximately seven and four U.S. gallons, respectively. "Pure alcohol" estimates were calculated by reference to average alcohol content in most beers, wines and spirits.
As a result of illness and accidents of all types resulting from intoxication, Mexico loses more than 310,000 human labor years annually, according to La Jornada, a Mexican journal which redacted the WHO study today. The latter number was based upon work days missed by the active labor force in 2010.
Mexico has a population of 118 million, with a median age of 26.
The numbers were particularly interesting since 52% of Mexican males reported they never consume alcohol, while 82% of females said the same. The study's authors concluded that consumption by those who do drink commonly reaches abusive levels. WHO found that 51% of all violent criminal acts committed in 2010 involved at least one participant who was under the effects of alcohol consumption.
A separate national addiction survey cited by La Jornada found that between 2002 and 2011, alcohol dependency rose in males from 3.5% to 6.2%, and in women from 0.6% to 2%.
Noting that more than half of all injuries sustained by Mexicans as a result of violent acts involved alcohol consumption, La Jornada wrote, "Such events are frequent in nations which lack effective controls over access to intoxicating beverages." The paper said young people between 15 and 34 were most at risk, adding:
"Our country is among the most dangerous on the American continent for its propensity towards excessive consumption, with the average male consuming five drinks at a setting and the average woman four. Such habits are present in about 26 million Mexicans [22% of the 2013 population]."
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