British women have been identified as the biggest binge drinkers in the developed world, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The study revealed that 26 percent of British women consume more than six drinks in one sitting at least once a month. In comparison, nearly half of British men engage in regular binge drinking, ranking them third globally. However, alcohol is not the only vice in the UK. Research indicates that Britons are also among the highest consumers of vaping products and junk food in the world. To assess the UK’s standing against other nations, MailOnline has analyzed studies involving up to 188 countries.
A 2021 report examining 23 European nations found that Britons come second only to Swedes in their preference for ultra-processed food and drink. This includes sausages, cake, ready meals, biscuits, and fizzy drinks. MailOnline’s analysis of the data reveals that these sugar, fat, and salt-laden products account for 40.5 percent of the average Brit’s daily diet.
The Nova system, developed by scientists in Brazil over a decade ago, categorizes food into four groups based on the level of processing it has undergone. This system provides insight into the extent of processing in the food we consume.
In summary, the UK ranks highly in terms of binge drinking, vaping, and junk food consumption. The analysis of European data shows that Britons have a significant affinity for ultra-processed food and drink, making up a substantial portion of their daily energy intake.Germany, the Netherlands, and Ireland have the highest percentage of ultra-processed food consumption, with 38.45%, 37.15%, and 33.55% respectively. In the US, ultra-processed food accounts for 57% of the daily calorie intake for the average person. Australia follows closely behind with a figure of 43.7%. Brazil, Mexico, and Canada have percentages of 20%, 30%, and 48% respectively. Ultra-processed foods are defined as foods high in fat, sugar, and salt, low in protein and fiber, and containing artificial additives.
While consuming small amounts of these foods is not considered harmful, experts are increasingly concerned about the growing dependence on them. Sugary drink intake is particularly high in the UK, with an average of almost four-and-a-half drinks per week. This is significantly higher than France, Germany, and Australia, which have averages of 2.8, 2.7, and 3.1 drinks per week respectively. The consumption of sugary drinks has been linked to tooth decay, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. However, Rwanda has the highest consumption of sugar-packed beverages, with a weekly average of 34.
In terms of coffee intake, Finns are the most fond of coffee, consuming the highest amount compared to other countries.According to the latest data from the International Coffee Organization (ICO), Finns are the biggest consumers of coffee, consuming an impressive 10.5kg per person per year. The Nordic countries of Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and Norway also rank among the top ten, each consuming more than 7.5kg annually.
While coffee has been shown to have health benefits such as guarding against Alzheimer’s and heart disease when consumed in moderation, excessive consumption can lead to high blood pressure and anxiety.
Fortunately, the average Brit should not experience the negative side effects of coffee, as we consume an average of 3.6kg per year. This is equivalent to approximately 360 cups of coffee annually, or one cup per day.
In contrast, Finns consume the most coffee, grinding their way through 10.5kg per person per year, according to the latest data.
The Nordic neighbors of Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and Norway also rank among the top ten, each consuming more than 7.5kg per year, according to the 2022 figures from the ICO.
Australia and the US have an annual average consumption of 5.2kg and 5kg per person, respectively.
Moving on to wine drinking, experts claim that British women are drinking more due to reasons such as “pinking up” drinks, the need for relaxation among “wine moms,” and women’s financial independence. However, statistics from OurWorldInData, based at Oxford University, suggest that Brits may not actually be the heaviest wine drinkers in the world.According to the OECD’s Health Statistics 2023 report, Indonesia has the highest rate of daily smokers, with 32.6% of its population admitting to smoking every day. Bulgaria and Turkey follow in second and third place, with rates of 28.7% and 28% respectively. The OECD defines daily smokers as those aged 15 years and over who report smoking tobacco every day. In comparison, the UK has the lowest smoking rate on record at 12.7%, but it is still higher than Australia (11.2%) and the US (8.8%). The UK Government has pledged to reduce smoking rates and has proposed a ban on the sale of cigarettes to children born after 2009. If enacted, this ban could lead to 1.7 million fewer smokers by 2075 and save thousands of lives. In terms of vaping, one in 10 Estonians now vape regularly each month, making Estonia the e-cigarette capital of the world. This data was published by the OECD, which also found that only four countries have higher vaping rates than the UK.Fresh data revealed this week shows that Estonia has solidified its position as the e-cigarette capital of the world, with regular vaping rates standing at 10.4 percent. Only four countries rank higher than the UK, where 4.9 percent of the population now vapes. New Zealand follows Estonia with 8.2 percent, and the Czech Republic with 7.4 percent. The OECD defines regular vaping as the percentage of the population aged 15 or over who vape at least monthly, with or without nicotine.
Amid concerns over the long-term effects of vaping and increasing usage rates among teenagers, the UK Government has pledged to take action. Tighter restrictions on e-cigarettes are being considered, including the possibility of imposing an additional tax on vapes, which can be purchased for as little as £5.
According to the Global Web Index 2023 report, Brits rank 41st globally for the number of minutes spent on social media per day, indicating that they spend the least amount of time on screens. The report analyzes data from 48 nations and reveals that Brazilians spend the most time on social media, with three hours and 49 minutes per day, followed by Nigerians with three hours and 44 minutes. Americans spend an average of two hours and 16 minutes per day on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. The Covid pandemic led to a surge in screen time globally due to lockdowns and closures, but the Global Web Index suggests that this trend has now stabilized.
In terms of exercise, the OECD’s Health Statistics 2023 report, published this week, highlights the importance of physical activity. It emphasizes that regular exercise is crucial for maintaining good health and preventing chronic diseases. The report also emphasizes the need for governments to promote and support physical activity initiatives to improve public health outcomes.Data from Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU, and non-EU countries was used in the OECD’s Health Statistics 2023 report, which was published this week. The report reveals that the Swiss have the highest percentage of the population (76%) who spend at least 150 minutes per week on physical activity. The UK ranks fifth, with six in 10 people exercising for two-and-a-half hours per week. UK health chiefs recommend that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. Australia ranks second with over one in seven (71.3%) meeting the weekly exercise target, followed by Norway in third place with 67.6%. In contrast, the US ranks 14th, with less than half the population (47.9%) meeting the target.
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