One in 10 Belgians drinks too much, says KCE

Summary

Belgium’s Health Care Knowledge Centre has asked the government and health-care associations to create a concrete plan that addresses the overconsumption of alcohol, which they says affects 10% of the population

Campaign needed

The Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre (KCE) has called for the creation of a comprehensive plan to reduce the excessive consumption of alcohol. According to recent figures from the Scientific Institute for Public Health (WIV), about one in 10 Belgians has an alcohol problem, but only one in 12 seek help – after an average 18 years of problems with drinking.

KCE is asking policymakers, care organisations and patient associations to work together to develop a plan to tackle the alcohol problem. The knowledge centre said that people appear to be underinformed about the consequences of excessive drinking and about the standards for acceptable consumption. According to the World Health Organisation, overconsumption constitutes 21 drinks a week or more for men and 14 for women. 

Treatment options should be more readily available, said the centre, and the government should not allow health insurance providers to refuse to cover treatment, which is now usually the case.

Overconsumption of alcohol increases the risk of about 60 diseases, including cancer, diabetes and obesity, the centre said, and contributes to one in seven deaths among men and one in 13 deaths among women in Belgium.

Photo by Kristoffer Trolle / Flickr Commons