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Alcoholism & Addiction

Alcohol Considered Valuable Social Tool in China Among Middle-Aged Men

While Chinese cultures expect their young adults to focus on their studies and not throw away valuable time on drinking, it is a different story for middle-aged men. A growing epidemic of extreme drinking is creating a need to find strategies to address this increasing problem, according to an article in Medscape.

The problem is a complete contrast to most other nations where this is typically a problem among teenagers and young adults, according to researchers. However, in Chinese society alcohol is thought to be a societal tool that holds value. It is encouraged for older men and women to drink during lunches or dinners in order to improve relationships with business associates or friends and to help maintain a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.

It appears that binge drinking has even become prevalent among the moderate drinker. New research proves that a person’s pattern of drinking is associated with an increased risk for death. Research also shows a higher chance of cardiovascular problems and injuries, both intentional and unintentional, that occur among even those with light to moderate drinking patterns.

The researchers studied almost 50,000 Chinese, with 53% being women 15 to 69 years old in 2007. All of the participants were personally interviewed regarding their sociodemographic factors and their present drinking patterns. The results proved that almost 36% of current drinkers had at least one alcoholic drink in the past year. Male drinking was 55.6% and binge drinking was defined as over 50 to 40 grams respectively, in just one day during the past year.

Interestingly, in China, the drinking rate increased with the amount of higher education and income levels. Researchers say this may be because in China people with greater educational achievements gain a higher status in social circles and thus are more inclined to partake in these social interactions.

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