Finnish researchers investigated if living closer to an establishment that served alcohol was associated with heavy drinking and extreme drinking occasions.
The scientists explaind “heavy drinking” as drinking more than 10 ounces of distilled alcohol per week for men and about 7 ounces a week for women, and “extreme drinking occasions” as passing out because of alcohol use.
To find out, they did a cross-sectional study with 78,858 participants and a longitudinal study with 54,778 participants.
The cross-sectional study found that the likelihood of heavy drinking and extreme drinking occasions was higher among those who lived closer than a kilometer from a bar than it was among those who lived further away.
The longitudinal study, which had an average follow-up of almost seven years, also found that people who lived closer to alcohol-serving establishments were more likely to be heavy drinkers.
When people moved a kilometer closer to a bar the odds of heavy drinking increased by 17%, an increase defined as small by the authors.
Is this just a case of heavy drinkers moving closer to their favorite watering hole? No, according to the study.
The odds of heavy drinking increased regardless of whether the person moved closer to a bar or if bars opened near where the participants lived. Moving away from a bar was associated with decreased odds of being a heavy drinker.