Britons among biggest drinkers with almost double global average consumed

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Britons are some of the biggest drinkers in the world, new figures show.

During 2016, the average person from the United Kingdom drank almost double the global average.

The worldwide level of alcohol consumption in 2016 was 6.4 litres of pure alcohol per person aged 15 years or older, according to new figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

But on average, each Briton drank 12.3 litres last year, according to the WHO estimates.

This level of drinking is on a par with people from Hungary, Latvia, Poland and Slovakia.

The figures, taken from the WHO's annual compilation of health statistics for its 194 member states, show that only 11 other countries reported higher alcohol consumption.

These are: Estonia, Ukraine, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Romania, Russia, Moldova, Belarus and Lithuania.

Lithuanians were the biggest drinkers, with the average person over 15 drinking 18.2 litres of alcohol during 2016.

Commenting on the figures, Rachel Clark, health promotions manager at World Cancer Research Fund, said: "It is incredibly worrying that Brits are drinking almost double the global average of alcohol.

"Alcohol is highly dangerous and increases the risk of many different health conditions including several cancers. In fact, if no one drank alcohol in the UK around 24,000 cancer cases could be prevented every year.

"If people do decide to drink then it's important for them to be aware of the dangers of alcohol so that they can make conscious decisions to reduce their consumption. People should drink no more than the Government's recommended limit of 14 units a week, which is roughly equal to seven drinks, spread over at least three days."

The figures also highlight how countries are performing on a number of other health measures. These include:

:: Maternal deaths - around the world around 830 women died every day due to complications of pregnancy or childbirth in 2015. In the UK during 2015, for every 100,000 live births, nine mothers died, the same maternal mortality rates as Libya, Estonia and Slovenia.

:: Non-communicable disease - across the world, the probability of dying from diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and chronic lung disease between ages 30 and 70 is 19%. In the UK this figure is 11%.

:: Suicide - globally almost 800,000 deaths by suicide occurred in 2015, with the highest rate in Europe where there were 14.1 suicides per 100,000 people in 2015. In Britain this figure was 8.5 per 100,000 people.

:: Air pollution - In 2012, indoor and outdoor air pollution caused an estimated 6.5 million deaths around the world, or 11.6% of all deaths. In 2012, the death rate in the UK attributed to household and ambient air pollution was 25.7 per 100,000 people.

Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: "This report confirms that the deaths attributable to air pollution are higher in the UK, than for many other comparable European countries, including France and Spain.

"In the UK, air pollution is a public health crisis hitting our most vulnerable the hardest - our children, people with a lung condition and the elderly."

:: In 2015, more than 1.1 billion people around the world smoked tobacco.