One in four
February 19th, 2000
Health ministers gather to review new evidence and take action to save young people's lives
One in four deaths of European men in the group aged 15-29 years is related to alcohol. In parts of eastern Europe, the figure is as high as one in three. All in all, 55 000 young people in the WHO European Region died from causes related to alcohol use in 1999.
These shocking new data from the WHO Global Burden of Disease 2000 Study set the scene today, as health ministers, other high-ranking decision-makers and young people from the 51 countries in the European Region gathered in Stockholm for the WHO European Ministerial Conference on Young People and Alcohol. The Conference aims to agree on Region-wide action to reverse harmful trends related to changing patterns of alcohol consumption by young people and aggressive marketing by the drinks industry.
Over the past 10-15 years, we have seen that the young have become an important target for marketing of alcoholic products. When large marketing resources are directed towards influencing youth behaviour, creating a balanced and healthy attitude to alcohol becomes increasingly difficult,” stated Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, WHO Director-General, in her opening remarks. “Based on these concerns, I am calling for a concerted review by international experts of this issue of marketing and promotion of alcohol to young people.”
WHO will host a meeting on the impact of global marketing and promotion of alcohol, in collaboration with the Government of Valencia, in Spain later this year. WHO will also establish a strategy advisory committee on alcohol to address this serious public health problem.
In his address to the delegates, Dr Marc Danzon, WHO Regional Director for Europe, said “I understand that progress is not easily made in this area. Alcohol is deeply embedded in the culture and social activities of many societies. Health policies must have popular support based on an understanding of their importance. To help countries gain this support, the Regional Office is launching a new European alcohol monitoring system. This will provide on-going information on consumption, harm, drinks marketing and country experience in protecting public health.
As part of the programme for the Swedish presidency of the European Union (EU), the Conference agenda includes a special working-group session on future EU action on alcohol.
Are Europe's young people stronger than alcohol?
February 10th, 2000
"We are receiving signals from all across the Region that many young people are turning to alcohol as a drug. There is an increase in patterns of high-risk drinking, such as binge drinking and drunkenness."
Changing drinking patterns among young people in all European countries appear to be resulting in significant increases in alcohol-related injury, disability and death. WHO, with the Government of Sweden (which holds the presidency of the European Union - EU), will be convening ministers responsible for health and young people from the 51 countries that make up the WHO European Region, at a major conference in Stockholm, Sweden on 19-21 February 2001, to review new research evidence and take action to protect young people's health.
"Over the past year, Europe's public health community has been gathering evidence about alcohol consumption and the related harm, costs and options for marketing and policy. Early study findings are very worrisome, "notes Cees Goos, WHO Regional Advisor for Alcohol Drugs and Tobacco. "We are receiving signals from all across the Region that many young people are turning to alcohol as a drug. There is an increase in patterns of high-risk drinking, such as binge drinking and drunkenness."
"We already know," continues Goos, "that there are strong links between high-risk drinking, violence, unsafe sexual behaviour, and traffic and other accidents. What the experts will tell the world in Stockholm is how much current alcohol use among young people threatens health, societies and economies and what can be done about it."
The findings from major new regional studies¹ on the use and impact of alcohol on the health of Europe's young people will be launched at the WHO conference. The attending ministers and other high-ranking decision-makers will debate and identify specific policy actions that should be taken on the national, regional and global levels to promote health and reverse negative trends. WHO Director-General Dr Gro Harlem Bruntland and WHO European Regional Director Dr Marc Danzon will specify ways in which WHO will support countries in their policy actions.
As part of the programme for the Swedish presidency of the EU, the conference agenda will include a special working-group session on future EU action on alcohol.
"Alcohol can be ranked as one of the main determinants of health in the EU. The conference is therefore also an important opportunity to discuss the Swedish initiative to strengthen EU action in the field of alcohol and public health," notes Maria Renström, Head of the conference's Swedish Organizing Committee at the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, Sweden. "The impending enlargement of the EU and the growth of alcohol-related problems among young people make the need for concerted community action urgent."
Studies to be reported at the conference will answer key questions, For example, how are young people's drinking patterns really changing? How many deaths among young people can be attributed to alcohol? What parts of the Region are at the greatest risk? What is the role of drinks marketing? What has been the impact of trade agreements and changing broadcast standards, and is the WHO European Alcohol Action Plan working?
Young people as a driving force For the first time, young people themselves are being positioned as a driving force in the process of regional policy development. Each country has been asked to include young people as part of its delegation. Schools in the WHO European Network of Health Promoting Schools (ENHPS) have been invited to participate in different activities related to the conference.
A preparatory young people's meeting, organized by the Government of Sweden with WHO, the Council of Europe and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and held in November 2000, has already started the process, and participants at this meeting will take part in the ministerial conference this month. Young people will play a key role in advocacy, implementation and follow-up of the conference outcomes.
Link: Young People and Alcohol by WHO (the World Health Organization)
"We are not a problem - we are a resource"
Adobe pdf-reports, Young People's Involvement, Stockholm, 8 February 2001. Youthmeeting before the WHO European Ministerial Conference on Young People and Alcohol.
The international preparatory meeting, Youthmeeting.
"Coke should not be more expensive than alcohol!"
"We are not a problem - we are a resource"
BOES.ORG Main INDEX
Load MEDIA & NEWS FrameSet
Multilingual Human Rights / Children's Rights Across the World
Arabic Chinese Danish Dutch English Finnish French German Italian Japanese
Norwegian Portuguese Braz-Port Russian
Spanish Swedish Turkish