The fourth edition of Health at a Glance: Europe presents key indicators of health and health systems in the 28 EU countries, 5 candidate countries to the EU and 3 EFTA countries. Alcohol consumption is one of the key determinants of health.
In the European area, alcohol-related risk-taking behaviour among children has fallen in many countries, with drunkenness rates for boys and girls showing a strong decline from the levels of the late 1990s on average levels of repeated drunkenness are at their lowest in 20 years, with one in four 15-yearolds having experienced repeated drunkenness. Since 1993-94, rates have gone down by more than 30% in Austria, Denmark, Finland, the United Kingdom, as well as the Slovak Republic and Sweden (boys). However, recent upward trends in Greece (girls) and Malta (bothgenders) are cause for concern.
More than one third of 15-year-olds report having experienced drunkenness at least twice in Bulgaria, Denmark, Hungary and Lithuania Much lower rates (between 14% and 19%) are reported in France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden, as well as Albania, the FYR of Macedonia, Norway and Switzerland. Across the European Union as a whole, boys are more likely than girls to report repeated drunkenness (27% versus 24%). Croatia and Romania have the biggest differences, with rates of alcohol abuse among boys 16 and 18 percentage points higher than those of girls, respectively.
In Malta, Sweden and the United Kingdom more girls than boys report repeated drunkenness (around 2-4 percentage points difference). In Ireland, Poland and Spain, as well as Iceland and Norway, there is no gender gap.
Across EU member states in 2014, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia and Lithuania reported the highest consumption of alcohol, with 12 litres or more per adult. Greece, Italy, Sweden, as well as Albania, Iceland, Norway and Turkey were at the other end of the scale with relatively low levels of consumption, below 8 litres of pure alcohol per adult. The rate for Turkey is below 2 litres.
Although average alcohol consumption has gradually fallen in many European countries over the past three decades, it has risen in some others since 2000, such as Belgium, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland and Sweden. Drinking habits have converged across the European Union, with wine consumption increasing in many traditionally beerdrinking countries and vice versa.