New study reveals people who live in cold climates with less sunlight are more likely to drink heavily
What is it about winter that absolutely ruins any attempt to live healthily? Seriously, there's a reason that we all have winter bodies and summer bodies, and that's because it's so much harder to say trim, go to the gym, and lay off the demon drink when it's pitch dark by 4 pm and you've been freezing your nuts off all day. Personally, I always go into hibernation mode round about the time the clocks go back; and all I want to do at the end of a long day is go straight to a nice, cosy pub with a fireplace and drink whiskey until I feel warm again.
I've always excused this behaviour as being a part of my Scottish heritage. I don't know if any of you have ever visited Glasgow in the depths of December, but it certainly isn't a tropical paradise by any stretch of the imagination. Drinking heavily and living out of bars is just how my people cope with icy temperatures and long stretches of no sunlight. Imagine my surprise then, when this week a new scientific study confirmed my theory that people from colder climates drink more than people from warm ones.
The research, which comes courtesy of the Pittsburgh Liver Research Centre, pooled data from 193 countries - analysing general health statistics provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Meteorological Organisation's databases. The researchers found evidence that cold climate contributed to higher rates of binge drinking, liver disease, and depression
Commenting on the study's findings, senior author Ramon Bataller, (associate director of the Pittsburgh Liver Research Centre) said: "This is the first study that systematically demonstrates that worldwide and in America, in colder areas and areas with less sun, you have more drinking and more alcoholic cirrhosis."
Meanwhile, Dr Peter McCann (medical advisor at a rehab clinic in Scotland) stated: "We now have new evidence that the weather, and in particular the temperature and amount of sunlight that we are exposed to, has a strong influence on how much alcohol we consume. Furthermore, this weather-related alcohol consumption is directly linked to our chances of developing the most dangerous form of liver disease - cirrhosis - which can ultimately end in liver failure and death."
He added: "Stricter laws on alcohol pricing are surely justified when we consider the devastating combined effect of low sunlight and cheaper alcohol on consumption. Advertising laws should be addressed with restrictions during winter months strongly considered."
So if you're hating the sudden drop in temperature, and are gasping for a drink at this time of year, then at least you can console yourself with the fact that there's actually a scientific reason for it after all. Just make sure you're drinking in moderation, don't take things too far; you'll hate the winter season even more if you get too drunk and accidentally end up in hospital.