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Alcohol preference of Hispanics studied

A survey of Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, South/Central Americans, and Cuban Americans in the country revealed slight differences in their drinking patterns but overall, beer was the beverage of choice among these U.S. Hispanic groups. This survey is one of the first of its kind to study the beverage preference of Hispanics.

According to researcher Raul Caetano of the University of Texas School of Public Health, beer accounted for 52 to 72% of the total alcohol consumption of Hispanic men who drank beer and 32 to 64% of the total consumption of the women who drank beer.

This finding, however, did not come as a surprise to the researchers. Caetano and his colleague Sarah Zemore noted that beer is in fact the general beverage of choice of the larger American population, especially among the men.

Caetano did warn that people should not be misled into thinking that beer is a safer choice over hard liquor and wine. “It is true that the alcohol content is beer is lower than that of liquor, but what the study showed is that beer is the beverage most associated with binge drinking, which is a dangerous way to drink alcohol because of the impairment associated with such high number of drinks: five for men and four for women,” he added.

The current findings were gathered from a survey of 5,224 adult Hispanics in Miami, Philadelphia, Houston, New York, and Los Angeles. This sample was evenly divided in terms of gender and national group, with roughly 1,300 participants from each of the four national groups. These respondents were interviewed in their homes, either in English or Spanish, regarding their drinking habits and choices of beverages.

Certain differences in the drinking habits surfaced between the four groups. One significant difference observed by the researchers is that Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans were more inclined to excessive drinking that the other two groups and thus were projected to experience more alcohol-related problems.

The researchers also observe differences according to gender. In particular, they found that, unlike men, the drinking habits of Hispanic women depended largely on their ethnicity. Mexican American and Puerto Rican women, for instance, preferred beer over other beverages but South/Central American and Cuban American women favored wine. The survey also revealed that among the Puerto Ricans, women beer drinkers were found to have more episodes of binge drinking than their male counterparts.

According to Caetano, these findings are significant because the identification of beverage preference among Hispanics and how it differs across ethnicities can lead to the development of better prevention policies. Following their findings, he and his colleagues are calling for more prevention measures targeted on beer drinking.

Regardless of choice of beverage, alcoholism is an evil in itself and must be prevented. Addiction information and alcohol treatment options are available here at the Miramar Treatment Centers. Call us to find out how we can be of help.

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