The drunk community finally catches a break. A recently completed study done by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) strongly shows that non-drinkers are more likely to miss work than people who drink moderately. The conducted study involved 47,000 people from the UK, France, and Finland. The participants were asked to answer a questionnaire regarding their drinking habits.
After laborious analysis, a u-shaped regression model emerged. The data shows that non-drinkers and heavy drinkers tend to take more sick days than moderate drinkers. So, how did the study define “Moderate drinkers”? For men, the study suggests you are a moderate drinker if you consume 34 UK units per week and for women, 11 UK units per week.
One UK unit of alcohol is defined as a 10ml of spirits with an ABV of 37.5%, a half pint of beer with an ABV of 4% or two-thirds of a 125ml glass of wine with an ABV of 12%.
Non-drinkers called in sick more often due to mental health issues, skeletal and muscle disorders, and digestive and respiratory disease. For the heavy drinkers, more sick days were taken due to injury and poisoning which doesn’t seem outlandish.
It’s important to mention that error is often involved with studies regarding drinking habits. Whether it’s shame or guilt, people sometimes aren’t always truthful about habits that are considered “bad” by society. A change in policy has created an open dialogue in Scotland about the country’s drinking habits.
Back on May 1st, 2018 Scotland put in effect a minimum pricing policy which fixed the minimum price of a UK unit at 50 pence (67 US cents). Scottish politician Shona Robinson stated last fall that, “There were 1,265 alcohol-related deaths last year (2016), up 10% on 2015, while just today we see statistics showing a 2% annual increase in alcohol-related hospital stays,”. The FIOH study gives us a different perspective on the drinking habits of Europeans. Jenni Ervasti, the lead author of the study FIOH, shed light on her thoughts about their research project.
“Some diseases, or their treatment, prevent alcohol use, which may explain the excess risks among abstainers. Moreover, participants to whom at-risk drinking causes health problems may be selected out from the labor market, that is, if they retire early or become unemployed. Then, the adverse effects are not seen in absence from work due to illness.”
Ervasti defends the participants who fell into the “non-drinking” category.
This study adds to the centuries-long conversation about alcohol consumption. We are now able to defend our drinking habits with numbers. Unfortunately, the search for numbers that explain our bad drunk decisions continues.
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