The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – Costa Ricans are identified worldwide with their good treatment of tourists, their message of ‘Pura Vida’ and for living in a relative calmly atmosphere. However, a recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO) also highlights that Ticos are some of the heaviest drinkers in Central America.

The report, released this last week by the world maximum department of health, ranks Costa Ricans as the third largest consumer of alcohol in the region, just below the Belizean and Panamanian.

According to the report, based on data between 2008 and 2010, the country has an annual per capita consumption of 5.4 liters of pure alcohol, much higher than in more inhabitated countries such as El Salvador (3.2), Guatemala (3.8) and Nicaragua (5.0).

According to the study, which included citizens older than 15 years, Costa Rican consumers per capita have a predilection for beer with 59%, other alcoholic beverages (such as rum and vodka) are at 36%, while wine reaches only 5% of consumers.

“A lot remains to be done to protect people from the negative consequences of alcohol consumption on health. The report clearly shows that there is no room for complacency when it comes to reducing harmful use of alcohol,” said doctor Oleg Chestnov, WHO specialist, on the site of the organization.

The WHO report says that Costa Rican men are those who had a higher prevalence for alcohol consumption. A total of 12.6% affirmed, in 2010, having consumed the equivalent of at least 60 grams of pure alcohol on one occasion in the last 30 days. While only 2.%4 of women said they did.

A total of 27.6% of the population of over 15 years said they had never had an alcoholic drink. Meanwhile, 21% confirmed drinking alcohol, but confessed they had not in the last 12 months.

Gerardo Sanchez, of the Costa Rican Institute of Statistical Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (IAFA), said he did not agree with the data issued by the WHO report. He argued that his information for these figures differs a lot from the analysis issued in 2006 and affirmed that, under his criteria, Costa Ricans are not among the heaviest drinkers in the region.

“According to my estimates, for 2006 and 2007, it was 3.61 liters per capita and person … I think those data (WHO) are inflated . Even with the low data of this research, I think it is much less than that. I think that this figure of 5.4 is inflated,” said Sanchez, who rejected the WHO study.

The official mentioned that the other Central American countries do not have a consolidated basis of consumer studies like Costa Rica. Therefore he believes that the country is below other nations like Nicaragua or Guatemala.

“We have data that is quite good with regard to our region Central America. We are one of the countries that consumes less alcohol in the region. It is exaggerated to place us as a country that consumes more than the rest of the region,” Sanchez explained.

Other countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Paraguay outweigh Costa Rica throughout Latin America, but they are countries that usually accompany meals with a glass of wine. These tend to be countries where the consumer drinks more frequently but in smaller quantities during a single “sit-in”.

The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

San Jose, Costa Rica