Sunday, August 30, 2009

Binge drinking oldies

This is the title of the article in the US publication Supermarket Guru: “Binge drinking it is time to take responsibility.”

Duke University has found that 22% of men and 9% of women, between ages 50 and 64, binge drink. That means they consumed five alcoholic drinks or more at a time.

In addition, 19% of the men and 13% of the women reported having two or more drinks a day - a level that puts their health at risk when viewed against American Geriatric Society guidelines.

Some 14% of men and 3% of women, over the age of 65, also binge drink.

Well I guess you could say this news is great for the drinks and pharmaceutical industries.

I have a problem with the word ‘binge’, along with the term ‘over weight’ – as defined as anybody with a BMI, greater than 25.

There is characteristic about the over-50s, maybe it applies to all ages or maybe it just applies to me that discounts or ignores advice that debases the accepted meaning of words. In the mind of most people, binge drinking is the sight you see when you pass through the city centre of most UK towns on a Saturday night. People milling or lying around in a state of extreme intoxication.

So, when you say that somebody who, over the course of an evening, once a month, has five glasses of wine is in the same category, the immediate reaction is to totally ignore the associated advice.

The same with the term "over-weight" that applies to both the manifestly bulging hulks that waddle around (many of whom work for the NHS) as to somebody with their belt let-out an extra notch.

Don’t get me wrong. I am sure there is good sense in the advice but it will be ignored because of the way it is expressed. This is a case where "less is more effective than more". Dick Stroud

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