Archive for August, 2012

Mixed messages?

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

The University of Iowa holds a licensing agreement with Anheuser-Busch that allows the beverage company to use the University’s logo in its advertising so long as the ads include a message about drinking responsibly. The sponsorship will contribute  $114M to UI’s athletic department by 2026 and will provide $43K for the school’s alcohol harm reduction program this year.

The recently-renewed contract has been met with opposition by those who feel that UI being sponsored by an alcoholic beverage company sends a mixed message to students. Students interviewed for the story by The Daily Iowan conceded that they are confused by the school’s stance on alcohol. Freshman Mitchell Coleman said,

…sometimes [I] think that the UI is completely against all drinking but then other times [I] gets the message that if students do choose to drink they should have it under control.

Others are less confused and argue that receiving funding from Anheuser-Busch is a poor decision. Jeffery Cox, a professor and member of the UI’s Presidential Committee on Athletics claims,

This beer sponsorship decision undermines our ability to defend the integrity of the athletics program to the public and diverts attention from the good things about college athletics…

While time will tell what the total effect will be on student drinking, the University choose to take a proactive stance by surveying students for their actual perceptions. The survey will be used as baseline data and compared to future surveys to determine the effect of alcohol sponsorships on campus binge drinking.

Readers, what do you think? Students, have you been surveyed for something like this before?

Drinking to fit in?

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

A recent study published by the American Sociology Association (ASA) claims that college students who binge drink feel more socially accepted. 1,600 students at a Northeastern liberal arts college were surveyed for the study. In particular, findings indicated that students who feel marginalized on their campus achieve greater social satisfaction from drinking,

Many students responding to the survey reported they did not want to binge drink but felt in necessary to fit in on campus. Minority and LGBT students felt less welcome on campuses with a white, heterosexual culture, and reported they had a better social experience in college when they participated in binge drinking.

This ASA study (click here for more information) indicates that the pervasiveness of binge drinking on college campuses forces students who might choose responsibility to reevaluate their positive decisions in favor of fitting in.

Drinking spikes in first weeks of class

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

According to a recent study, colleges see a spike in dangerous drinking at the beginning of the school year. As freshman start their college careers and upperclassmen return to campus, nervousness, excitement, and [short lived] lighter workloads provide plenty of time for binge drinking. Freshmen particularly fall prey to this dangerous cocktail of emotions; they are anxious and excited about coming to campus, yet they have never experienced the level of freedom and the availaibilty of alcohol that a college campus presents. Having never been taught–or been able to be taught–how to drink responsibly results in unnecessary hospital visits.

The Orlando Sentinel reported on this beginning-of-year behavior and cited research by Michael Cleveland, researcher at Penn State’s Prevention Research Center. Apparently, irresponsible drinking occurs costs colleges thousands of dollars annually,

For each college with 40,000 or more students, emergency room visits for alcohol-related blackouts cost about $500,000 a year, according to an April report in Health Affairs, an international health policy journal.

The University of Central Florida is no exception to these costs, according to the Orlando Sentinel,

At UCF last year, 679 students were cited for alcohol violations, 49 were taken to the hospital for excessive drinking, and 29 were arrested for drinking and driving, according to university records. UCF has an enrollment of 59,000 students.

Inexperience and excitement, according to the article, plague colleges at the beginning of the school year and offer parents and administrators reason to worry.

College hopes to curtail binge drinking with liquor license

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Administrators at Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL recognize that many of their students regularly binge drink. And the concerned college administration hopes to teach their students how to drink responsibly, although their approach to curtailing binge drinking is far from ordinary.

The college has applied for a liquor license for an on campus pub where, if approved, of age students could order no more than two beers with a meal. Officials hope that providing students with a venue for safe and responsible drinking will discourage the dangerous, excessive behaviors prevalent on college campuses, even among students who are of age.

For more information on Illinois College’s efforts, click here.

Readers, what do you think?

CU Boulder to reconsider land use policies

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

The University of Colorado, Boulder is seeking to curtail campus binge drinking, which in which roughly 23% of the student body partakes, by reevaluating zoning near campus. Altering the density of establishments that serve alcohol could help reduce rates of binge drinking, officials say.

Donald Misch, assistant vice chancellor for health and wellness at CU, said, “The greatest threat your child faces in college is probably alcohol.” He and his staff seek to reduce this danger, and time will tell if their measures lead to effective changes.

Read the full story here, and let us know what you think, readers.

More drunk than you think?

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

A recent Fox News report claims that, “women arrested for driving while intoxicated increased by 31.5 percent between 2000 and 2009.” According to the article, the statistic indicates the adults, especially women, are consuming enough alcohol to push them past the legal driving limit. Apparently, men and women continue to make the choice to drink and drive because they do not realize how a drink affects their BAC.

While the article serves more as more of a warning to adults than as a statistical analysis, it indicates that a misunderstanding of alcohol’s effect on the body plays a role in the choices made by those well past the legal age.

Click here to read the full story.

Moderate consumption may lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis

Monday, August 6th, 2012

A study conducted by researchers at the Karolinska Institute suggests that women who consumed alcohol moderately over a 10 year period were less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis. Approximately 1.5 million American adults live with rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease. Researchers believe that alcohol effects the disease because spirits suppress the body’s immune system.

The Huffington Post reports,

The research, which is published online in the British Medical Journal, included 34,141 Swedish women whose health information was recorded in 1987 and 1997. Then, researchers followed up again with the women between 2003 and 2009 to find that 197 of them had developed rheumatoid arthritis.

After taking into account other factors like age, diet and smoking, the researchers found that people who reported drinking more than three alcoholic beverages a week — where a single beverage is defined as 500 milliliters of beer, 150 milliliters of wine or 50 milliliters of liquor — had a 52 percent lower rheumatoid arthritis risk, compared with people who never drank.

While the research emphasizes moderate consumption, it also indicates the positive health benefits of alcohol revealed by numerous previous studies, including one on osteoporosis.