2016-09-28Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.17886/RKI-GBE-2016-029
Alcohol consumption of adults in Germany: Harmful drinking quantities, consequences and measures
Harmful alcohol consumption is one of the five essential risk factors for disease, impairments and premature death around the world. It is considered to be a contributory cause for more than 200 diseases and is co-responsible for causing many intentional and unintentional injuries. In order to reduce harmful alcohol consumption, the health target “Reduce alcohol consumption” has been currently elaborated in Germany and focuses on a policy mix of behavioural and situational preventive measures to include as far as possible all relevant players for the development of overarching objectives. The data from the recurrent health surveys by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) allow an evaluation of trends of harmful alcohol consumption in the population aged 25 to 69 between 1990/1992, 1997/1999, and 2008/2011. Harmful alcohol consumption is defined as a daily consumption of pure alcohol of more than 10g for women and more than 20g for men. For the years 2008-2011 harmful alcohol consumption for the age group 18 to 79 years is calculated based on the “German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Adults” (DEGS1) and examined in connection with socio-demographic and health-related factors. The results of DEGS1 show that 13.1% of women and 18.5% of men consume alcohol in harmful quantities. For men harmful alcohol consumption rises with the age; for women the lowest prevalence is found in those aged 30-39 years and the highest in the age group 50-59 years. Women with a high socio-economic status drink a harmful quantity of alcohol to a higher extent than women from medium or low status groups. For men there are no corresponding differences. Mainly smoking is associated with harmful alcohol consumption. Between 1990 and 1992 as well as between 2008 and 2011 harmful alcohol consumption has strongly declined, for women from 50.9% to 13.6%, for men from 52.6% to 18.3% (age group 25 to 69 years). Even if harmful alcohol consumption in the population has strongly declined, the per capita consumption of pure alcohol is above the average of the EU Member States in Germany. For that reason, preventive measures for specific target groups are required.
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