Although Belgium
is the second
smallest country
within the
European Union,
it is a densely
inhabited country
with 10.8 million
people (2010)
who are living on
30.528 square
resulting in a
density of 349 /
km2. Of this total
population 57.7%
of the inhabitants
live in Flanders,
the Northern part
of Belgium, 32.3%
in Wallonia, the
Southern part of
Belgium, and
10.0% in BrusselsCapital Region
-Already by the age of 12,
more than half of the Flemish
children ever used alcohol
(boys 61.6% and girls 51%).
From 16 years onwards these
percentages are above 90% for
both boys and girls. The
lifetime drunk prevalence for
12-year old students is already
16.5% and by the age of 16
and 17-18, these percentages
have increased dramatically
(57.8% and 71.3 respectively).
- In general, Flemish youth
follow the European averages
in terms of their alcohol
consumption patterns, and
these patterns seem to have
been relatively stable since
the years 2002-2004, with the
only exception that the
consumption of alcopops has
declined since 2002. Trends in
binge drinking are more
difficult to assess, but here
also Flemish youth have binge
drinking patterns close to the
European averages.
- According to the
Eurobarometer survey (2007), a
small majority, 54% of the
Belgian adults, are convinced
that public authorities should
intervene in order to protect
individuals from alcohol related
harm. 45% consider individuals
to be mainly responsible for
protecting themselves from
alcohol-related harm.
- More than three quarters of
the Belgian citizens (79%) would
agree with putting warnings on
alcohol bottles, and adverts, in
order to warn pregnant women
and drivers of the dangers of
drinking alcohol
- Drugs and alcohol are
recognized as part of the
human experience and culture.
- In fact, our western societies
accept that citizens (even
youth) experiment but they ask
them to control themselves and
to not exceed the limits. The
role of public authorities is
more and more to limit the
risks for the society and the
human community and to take
charge (care and sanctions) of
people who exceed the limits.
Hans Berten PhD, Nicole Vettenburg PhD
Correspondence to: Hans Berten [[email protected]]
Ghent University, Faculty of Psychology and Pedagogical Sciences, Department of Social
Welfare Studies, Gent, Belgium.
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Same as Flanders
-By the age of 12: More than
half of the children in the
French Community have used
alcohol at least once (boys
75.1% and girls 62.4%). More
than 10% of this age group
usually drinks 1 to 4 glasses
per week : (boys 13.4 and
girls 10.1%); the same trend
can be seen for having been
drunk in the last 12 months
(boys 12.6% and girls 9.5%).
Binge drinking seems
widespread and concerns boys
and girls here.
- By the age of 16 : Almost all
children have tested alcohol:
more than 90% have tried
alcohol at least once (boys
95.4% and girls 92.1). 28.8% of
the boys have been drinking
1 – 4 glasses of alcohol per
week. More than half of the
children in the French
Community have been drunk
in the last 12 months (boys
57.2% and girls 47.6%). Binge
drinking is also common (boys
68.2% and girls 55.6%).
Claire Gavray, Renaud Pissart
University of Liege (B)
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