One-third of salaried workers in their 30s and 40s in Korea are heavy drinkers who drink at least a bottle and a half of soju twice a week. Doctors warn that this can result in chronic diseases such as hypertriglyceridemia, gastric reflux disease and fatty liver.
The figure comes from a study of 31,000 salaried workers in the age group who underwent checkups at Kangbuk Samsung Hospital last year. The hospital and the Chosun Ilbo collaborated in the analysis.
The subjects were employees of some 20 companies including leading conglomerates, banks, securities firms, and small and medium businesses. Doctors said the high percentage of so-called high-risk drinkers reflects the aggressive drinking culture in Korea.
Given that there are 8.13 million salaried workers in their 30s and 40s according to Statistics Korea, the total number of high-risk drinkers in the age group in the country can be estimated at a whopping 2.43 million.
Ten percent of them are classified as a binge drinkers who drink two to three bottles of soju in one sitting. This can affect the productivity of the workers and of the company overall. About one in five salaried women, or 18 percent, also fell in the high-risk category.