August 17, 2009

Anglo-Saxon countries influence binging

Drinking patterns in Spain may be changing from drinking with meals to binge drinking on weekends, a researcher in Spain says.

Binge drinkers are defined as males who drink five or more standard alcohol drinks, and females who drink four or more, on one occasion and within a two-hour interval.

Francisco Caamano-Isorna of the University of Santiago de Compostela says the traditional pattern in Spain -- low intake of wine and beer during meals -- may be changing.

Recent reports from the Spanish Drug Observatory suggest that the prevalence of binge drinking is increasing, he says in a statement.

The percentage of Spanish students who are binge drinkers is still low -- 12.2 percent -- compared to the United States -- 40 percent -- and other countries, Alberto Crego, a doctoral student at University of Santiago de Compostela says.

One of the reasons for this is because in Anglo-Saxon countries there is a longer tradition of drinking linked to weekend diversions and characterized by sporadic consumption of large quantities of alcohol in short periods, Crego says. While in Mediterranean countries such as Spain, alcohol consumption is traditionally more regular and linked to gastronomy.