Living near a pub can make you a binge drinker: Study

Last Updated: Sunday, November 11, 2012 - 12:19

London: Living in the vicinity of a bar can turn you into a heavy drinker, a new study has claimed.

The study found that as a person moved one kilometre closer to a bar, he is likely to increase alcohol consumption by almost 17 percent.

Researchers from Finland followed nearly 55,000 adults for seven years and found that those who moved closer to bars were more likely to increase their drinking.

"Moving place of residence close to, or far from, a bar appears to be associated with a small corresponding increase or decrease in risky alcohol behaviour," said lead researcher Jaana Halonen, of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Kuopio.

The study found as a person moved one kilometre closer to a bar, the odds of becoming a heavy drinker rose 17 percent, the `Daily Mail` reported.

Heavy drinking` meant more than 10 ounces of distilled alcohol a week for men, and about seven ounces a week for women, researcher said.

The link doesn`t prove that mere distance from a bar alone causes people to drink more, they said.

According to Halonen one possibility is that drinkers choose to live near bars.

However, the research team also looked at a subset of people who didn`t move - instead, the bars came closer to them - and the findings were similar among those individuals.

Researchers also accounted for other factors, such as the neighbourhood poverty level - in Finland, lower-income people are move likely to drink heavily, Halonen said.

But even here, distance from a bar remained tied to the odds of becoming a heavy drinker

At the outset, there was a pattern of heavy drinking being more common when people lived close to bars, or to restaurants or hotels with bars, the report said.

Among people who were an average of 400 feet from the nearest drinking establishment, a little over nine per cent were heavy drinkers. Of those 2.4 km away, some 7.5 percent were heavy drinkers.

Halonen said that for any one person, the risk of becoming a binge drinker is of course tied to a whole range of factors.

However, she said that it`s possible that restricting bar hours, or other alcohol retailers` operating hours, could limit risky drinking among locals.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, November 11, 2012 - 12:19

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