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Latvians tend not to be binge drinkers

New figures about drinking habits and alcohol consumption suggest that very few Latvians drink on a daily basis and relatively few on a weekly basis. Instead we tend to favor a tipple once a month and even then it's not exactly a bacchanalian blow-out.

In 2019, 8.4% of the EU adult population consumed alcohol daily, 28.8% weekly, 22.8% monthly and 26.2% never consumed or hadn’t consumed any in the last 12 months, according to Eurostat.

"Daily alcohol intake was the most frequent in Portugal, with a fifth (20.7%) of the population consuming alcohol every day, followed by Spain (13.0%) and Italy (12.1%). In contrast, the lowest share was around 1.0% in Latvia and Lithuania," Eurostat said.

"In the Netherlands, almost half of the population (47.3%) consumed alcohol on a weekly basis, closely followed by Luxembourg (43.1%) and Belgium (40.8%). Monthly consumption in the EU was the highest in Lithuania with 31.3%, Latvia (31.1%) and Cyprus (30.4%)."

Eurostat alcohol consumption data, 2019

Despite this, it seems we are not "heavy episodic drinkers". Heavy episodic drinking is defined as ingesting the equivalent of more than 60g of pure ethanol on a single occasion. Among the EU Member States, between 4% (Cyprus and Italy) and 38% (Denmark) of adults reported taking part in heavy drinking episodes at least once a month. In contrast the figure in Latvia was 14%, well below the EU average of 19%.

It's worth noting that the heavy episodic drinking data came with the caveat: "Finland data not available". Ahem.

According to the Eurostat data, 2.7% of Latvians get hammered once a week, 11.5% are soused once a month and 16.4% are pickled less often than that, while 69.4% said they have not over-indulged at all during the previous 12 months.

Daily consumption of alcohol was found to increase with age across the EU. The lowest share of those who consumed alcohol the most frequently (i.e. every day) was recorded among those aged 15 to 24 (1.0%) while the highest share in people of 75 or over (16.0%). However, the latter age group also accounted for the highest share that never consumed alcohol or had not consumed any in the past 12 months (40.3%).

Weekly alcohol consumption was fairly stable across all age groups between 25 and 64, the highest share being found among people aged 45 to 54 (33.5%).

Monthly and less than once a month consumption slightly decreased with age. People aged between 25 and 34 recorded the highest share that consumed alcohol monthly (28.5%).

Daily and weekly consumption of alcohol were more common for men than for women (respectively 13.0% of men vs. 4.1% of women and 36.4% of men vs. 21.7% of women).

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