One in 10 French people has a drink problem

More than half of French people are overweight, alcoholic or smokers, according to a report by the country’s National Statistical Institute, while a study commissioned by the Health Ministry suggests that 23,000 die every year as a result of alcohol abuse. The reports cast doubt on claims that the French lead a healthier lifestyle than the British, characterised by sensible &to=' target=_blank>drinking and a better diet. The institute’s survey of 21,000 people found that French men were more likely to damage their own health than women were. One in three smoked, one in two was overweight and one in ten drank too much, reorts Times Online.

One in 10 French people has a drink problem, the report says. Every day, five people die of alcohol-linked accidents or diseases in France.

The semi-official study undermines an argument used by the Blair government for extending Britain's pub opening hours. Spreading drinking over a longer period, as France does, does not necessarily reduce alcohol-related social ills.

Addiction to alcohol in France is partly rooted in politics, says Hervй Chabalier, the author of the report, who is a television journalist and recovering alcoholic. The influence of wine-growers, and the wider drinks industry, on the government means the dangers of drink have never been properly addressed, M. Chabalier said. The one exception - a law passed in 1991 restricting drink advertising - was not fully applied and is now being dismantled, he said.

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