Rome

'7.5 million heavy drinkers in Italy'

Istat confirms declining trend for alcohol abuse

'7.5 million heavy drinkers in Italy'

Rome, April 18 - Italy had 7.46 million heavy alcohol drinkers over the age of 11 in 2012, Istat said Thursday. The number continued a downward trend already noticeable in 2011, from 15.2% of the eligible population in 2011 to 13.8% in 2012, the Italian statistics agency said in its "Use and abuse of alcohol" report. The report noted that daily heavy drinking and binge drinking were also on the decline, as was the "at risk" population for alcohol abuse. Daily consumption of alcohol fell from 34.5% to 24.4% between 2011 and 2012. The percentage of the population over the age of 14 that reported drinking some alcohol remained constant from year to year at 66.6%, but fell from 70.2% compared to 10 years ago. Heavy drinkers were overwhelmingly male, with 5.74 million men compared to 1.79 million women. Drinkers over age 65 were found to be at the greatest risk, as their consumption was deemed "essentially traditional," meaning habitual consumption during meals. Istat found 40.7% of elderly men and 10% of elderly women were "at risk" in their alcohol consumption habits. Nevertheless, even the older demographic has become more moderate over the years, with daily "non-moderate" consumption falling from from 50% to 39.7% from 2003 to 2012.

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di Sebastiano Caspanello