Media Influence on Drinking

A common misconception is that alcohol is healthy for an individual. Several years ago a report was issued stating that a glass of wine daily would fend off heart disease. For years afterwards many people would cite this study as a reason why it was ok to promote drinking. However, since the study was released, researchers have discovered that any health benefits from a glass of wine a day are negligible and there were likely problems with the study in the first place. The danger of publishing information is that is not accurate is that the millions of people that it reaches will subsequently make decisions off of wrong information.

“It is particularly interesting to note that those who believe alcohol to be heart healthy actually drink more alcohol. Whether their belief causes this behavior, or merely justifies it, remains an interesting unknown,” explained Dr. Gregory Marcus, director of clinical research at the University of California, San Francisco.

Marcus and his team conducted a study to determine people’s perceptions on alcohol and any related health benefits. They discovered that 80% of the people who believed that alcohol was healthy for an individual felt this way because of the reports produced by the media on the health benefits of wine. Additionally, the researchers discovered that those that believed that alcohol was healthy had high rates of alcohol abuse. These people consumed 47% more alcohol than people who did not believe that alcohol was healthy for a person.

The correlation between the media and the public’s decisions is interesting, and highlights the major role the media has when it comes to the decision making process. Experts agree that the danger of consuming too much alcohol far outweighs any minor health benefits a glass of wine has for a person. Binge drinking and drunk driving are threats that make alcohol consumption a risky endeavor, especially for those that tend to over drink in the first place.