The UK is the only country of 21 countries where alcohol consumption has risen during the Covid pandemic

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While Europe dried up… Britain drank! UK is only country of 21 countries where alcohol consumption rose during Covid pandemic, study shows

  • Researchers found that the UK was the only country out of 21 to drink more
  • Volunteers asked how often they drank and how much they drank
  • Survey questionnaire showed people in the UK drank more before the pandemic

During the Covid pandemic, alcohol consumption fell in countries across Europe, but not in the UK.

In 21 European countries, the UK was the only one to see an increase in drinking, a study finds.

Researchers surveyed nearly 32,000 people across Europe between April and July last year, including 836 in the UK.

The volunteers were asked about changes over the past month in how often they drank, how much they drank, and how often they binge.

In 21 European countries, the UK was the only one to see an increase in alcohol consumption, a study finds

In 21 European countries, the UK was the only one to see an increase in alcohol consumption, a study finds

The answers were used to calculate a mean score from minus one to one, with a negative number indicating a decrease in alcohol and a positive number indicating an increase.

The average score in the 21 countries was minus 0.14, while the score for the UK was 0.1, according to the study published in the journal Addiction.

That may have to do with the national drinking culture, with the survey questionnaire showing that even before the pandemic, people in the UK drank more than those in the other 20 countries.

In Ireland, average alcohol consumption remained virtually the same on average, while in every other country there was a decrease, notably Albania, Finland, Greece, Italy, Slovakia and Spain.

Researchers surveyed nearly 32,000 people across Europe between April and July last year, including 836 in the UK

Researchers surveyed nearly 32,000 people across Europe between April and July last year, including 836 in the UK

Researchers surveyed nearly 32,000 people across Europe between April and July last year, including 836 in the UK

Carolin Kilian, lead author of the study from the University of Dresden in Germany, said: ‘In the UK, drinking frequency and the amount of alcohol consumed per drinking day increased slightly, while binge drinking did not change on average.’

The authors suggest that drinking is a “maladaptive coping strategy” used to address the psychological effects of social isolation, insecurity and money problems.

There were far fewer opportunities to drink during the lockdown, the study authors point out, with no parties, concerts or family gatherings, or drinking facilities associated with travel, on planes and cruise ships or in hotels.

But the British still managed to drink more compared to their continental neighbours.

The online survey, which collected responses between April 24 and July 22, used a questionnaire to map the difference in people’s alcohol consumption by comparing it to how much they usually drank.

For example, people can say that in the past month they have had a little or much more, the same amount or a little or much less drink than before.

The answers to the three questions on drinking frequency, binge drinking frequency and amount of alcohol were used to calculate a mean score from minus one to one, with a negative number indicating an average reduction in alcohol in a country and a positive number indicating a increase.

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