College creates alcoholics?

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, Alcohol & Drugs, Day Care & Education

A new study shows college kids binge drink more often than non-college kids. This has led researchers to declare that college breeds alcoholism. Scientists know that genetics can play a role in alcoholism and the study found that this predisposition when combined with a college setting can increase the likelihood that some young adults will become heavy drinkers.

The study was a follow-up to a similar one conducted by Harvard University in 1999. At that time, 44 percent of college students admitted to binge-drinking in the recent past. Binge drinking is defined as consumption of five drinks within two hours for men and four drinks for women.

In the new study, researchers were trying to determine if a person with a genetic predisposition to become an alcoholic would be affected by the college environment. Beginning in high school, researchers tracked almost 9000 students through college. Included in the surveys were over 800 pairs of siblings, some fraternal and identical twins. By looking at twins, they were able to compare the outcomes of two people with the same genes.

What they found doesn't seem all that shocking. 66 percent of students who went to college reported binge drinking compared to 53 percent of their non-college peers . What is interesting is that those who didn't go on to college reported more binge drinking during their high school years than the students who went on to college. Could all that binge drinking be the reason they didn't make it to college?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.