A recent study released suggests that there is a link between intelligence and alcohol intake, especially among young men.
According to Daily Mail, individuals with a lower IQ are more likely than others to develop an alcohol habit. Swedish researchers claim it is not alcohol consumption that leads to a lower IQ, but the other way around: those with a lower than average IQ are more likely to drink more and have problems with alcohol.
"We found that lower results on IQ tests in Swedish adolescent men are associated with a higher consumption of alcohol, measured in both terms of total intake and binge drinking. It may be that a higher IQ results in healthier lifestyle choices,” said author of the study, Sara Sjolund, a doctoral student at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.
"Suggested explanations for the association between IQ and different health outcomes, could be childhood conditions, which could influence both IQ and health, or that a socio-economic position as an adult mediates the association,” she added.
The Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research Journal published the study, which surveyed almost 50,000 Swedish males born between 1949 and 1951. The data included general IQ tests on the individuals as well as a questionnaire on drinking habits and behavior. The research also adjusted for various other impacting factors that could have affected the results, including education, social status and economic background. Despite the adjustment, there was a clear link between low IQ among young men and issues with alcohol consumption.
"In this study of a general population, intelligence probably comes before the behaviour, in this case, alcohol consumption and a pattern of drinking in late adolescence,” said Daniel Falkstedt, a public health professor. "It could be the other way around for a minority of individuals, that is, when exposure to alcohol has led to cognitive impairment, but this is less likely to be found among young persons."
Swedish researchers also conducted another study on the association between heavy drinking and eating problems, looking at Russian teenagers.
“First, problematic eating behaviors and attitudes were commonplace among Russian adolescents, especially among girls. Second, binge drinking was associated with eating problems among both sexes, although it was linked with more eating problems in girls,” said researcher Andrew Stickley.
“Nearly 50 per cent of Russian girls worried about how to stop gaining weight, while almost one-third of them had fasted or engaged in excessive exercise to prevent weight gain. Among boys, problems were less prevalent, although 35 per cent of them reported excessive eating.”
Both of these studies published on the relationship between alcohol and intelligence, as well as eating behaviors, can be found in the Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research Journal.