After surveying 37 countries that had drinking guidelines, American researchers concluded that Austria sets the highest alcoholic content for a 'standard' drink.
Guidelines in Austria say a whopping 20g of alcohol is considered a ‘standard sized' drink, compared to the lowest amount of 8g in the UK and Iceland.
Austria’s alcohol content is double the 10g defined by the World Health Organisation as a ‘standard drink’, which is about the size of a small glass of wine.
The research published in the journal Addiction earlier this week was carried out by the University of Stanford and shows wide variations between what is thought of as high or low alcohol content around the world.
Study lead Keith Humphreys, a professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Stanford, says that this can lead to confusion among researchers looking at alcohol addiction as well as for people trying to drink responsibly.
“There’s a substantial chance for misunderstanding,” he said. “A study of the health effects of low-risk drinking in France could be misinterpreted by researchers in the United States who may use a different definition of drinking levels…It is not possible that every country is correct; maybe they are all wrong.”
Austrians prone to excessive drinking
It follows a survey of 4,000 people carried out last year by market research group GfK, which concluded that around 200,000 Austrians are prone to excessive drinking.
According to the GfK survey, only one in ten Austrians did not have anything to drink in the past 12 months. 39 percent of men and 15 percent of women said they drank alcohol two to three times a week or more often.
It compared to OECD figures that suggested Austrians drink 1.1 litres more alcohol than the EU average – equivalent to 12.2 litres of alcohol per person ever year. They are also the second largest consumer per capita of alcohol in the entire OECD.
“Even if such comparative data should be treated with caution – it's a fact that alcohol consumption is high in Austria and deeply rooted in society. Our study clearly shows this,” Rudolf Bretschneider from GfK Austria said.