Living near a bar = rise in risky boozing

A heavy drinker is defined as a woman who enjoys one alcoholic beverage a night.Photo / Thinkstock
A heavy drinker is defined as a woman who enjoys one alcoholic beverage a night.Photo / Thinkstock

Living close to a pub promotes risky drinking behaviours, a new study has found. However researchers aren't sure if proximity is the root of the problem, or if heavy drinkers tend to reside close to a watering hole.

The study, published in the journal Addiction, looked at data from nearly 55, 000 people living in Finland between 2000 and 2009. They calculated each respondents closest bar using GPS.

A team of researchers, lead by Jaana I Halonen, found when a participant moved a kilometre closer to a bar, their risk for heavy drinking increased by 17 per cent, Medical Daily reported.

Of those living within about 0.12km of a pub, over 9 per cent were heavy drinkers. On the other hand, of those living at least 2.4km away from the nearest watering hole, 7.5 per cent were heavy drinkers.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention classifies heavy drinkers as women who drink one standard alcoholic beverage a night or men who drink a couple.

Halonen said at first she suspected heavy drinkers may chose to live closer to bars than those who aren't as drawn to the booze. However, a significant number of people polled lived in areas where a bar opened up in the area, leading to an increase in the amount of heavy drinking going on.

- www.nzherald.co.nz

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