KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 — Asians’ rising incomes are correlated with higher frequency of getting drunk at least once every month, according to new research in The Lancet.
Asia Times reported the British medical journal noted that “heavy episodic drinking” has risen significantly in Thailand, Vietnam, Timor Leste and China since 1990.
Thirty per cent of Chinese drinkers got drunk once a month in 2017, almost double of the 16 per cent reported in 1990. Vietnam saw a jump from 16 per cent to 24 per cent in the same period, while Thailand’s rates increased from 18 per cent to 25 per cent. Bhutan and East Timor experienced increases of 14 per cent to 22 per cent, and 12 per cent to 20 per cent respectively.
Malaysia, India, Myanmar, and the Philippines reportedly experienced smaller percentage increases of people drinking heavily in one session, though Asia Times pointed out that these must be weighed against significant population growth over the past 30 years, including India’s large overall population.
The Lancet study reportedly associated rising wages and fast economic growth throughout Asia with increasing alcohol consumption.
“What happens is that more and more people give up abstinence and start drinking, as it is associated with desirable lifestyle and [is] affordable,” Jürgen Rehm of the University of Toronto, a co-author of The Lancet paper, was quoted saying.
The Lancet research found that adult alcohol per-capita consumption rose by 104 per cent in Southeast Asia and by 54 per cent in the Western Pacific region between 1990 and 2017.