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Close proximity to a bar may encourage drinking habit

Category: General Wellness

Close proximity to a bar may encourage drinking habitReuters has reported that research conducted in Finland found that the proximity of a bar from someone's home may be linked to increased levels of alcohol consumption.

The the study, which was conducted over seven years on 55,000 adults and published in the journal Addiction, showed that for every 0.6 miles closer to a bar a person moves, the chances of becoming a heavy drinker rises by 17 percent. A heavy drinker is classified as a man who consumes 10 ounces of distilled alcohol a week and woman who consumes close to seven ounces a week.

One of the factors the researchers noted could have skewed the results, was that people who regularly consume alcohol may be more likely to locate near a bar, but the research showed similar results in terms of increased drinking habits when a bar moved closer to the subjects. The factor of economic poverty being linked to alcohol abuse was also taken into consideration, but the results still showed that proximity played a key role in the participants' alcohol consumption.

Nine percent of those who lived within 400 feet of a bar, or a hotel with a bar, were heavy drinkers, while only 7.5 percent of the subjects who lived 1.5 miles away from a bar were classified as heavy drinkers.

According to Reuters, research author Jaana L. Halonen, Ph.D., of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, noted that other factors that may influence the rates of alcohol abuse include the bar's operating hours as well as cultural norms.

"For instance in the U.K. and Australia, heavy drinking is reported to be more common than in Finland, whereas in the USA it is less common," Halonen told the news source.

Alcoholism risk factors
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), alcoholism is defined as having a physical addiction to alcohol and a steady drinking habit despite its interference with personal relationships and mental and physical health. People who have an increased risk of developing a dependency on alcohol include those who suffer from depression, and have easy access to alcohol, low self-esteem, relationship problems or a stressful life.

Signs and diagnosis
Some signs of alcoholism include drinking alone, becoming violent while drinking, missing work or school because of drinking or shaking after a period of time without consuming alcohol. Tests that can be done to detect alcoholism include a magnesium blood test, complete blood count test and liver function tests.

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