Health stats peg MRU students as heavier drinkers
by Bryan Weismiller
Call them “centennial celebrations,” but a recent survey suggests that Mount Royal University students are partying a little harder than average. According to the National College Health Assessment, MRU students consumed a higher average number of drinks during a social event than the combined reference group of 139 schools across Canada and the United States.
Male Mount Royal students reported consuming an average of 5.83 drinks, compared to the average of 4.76. Women students consumed an average of 4.18 drinks, compared to the average of 3.11 drinks.
“Students are going to drink, they’re legal and they’re allowed to,” said Charmene Brewer, health education coordinator at the EnCana Welness Centre. “Our goal is to educate them on drinking the proper amounts and taking care of themselves when they are drinking.”
The web-based survey polled 1,345 MRU students in January 2010. The sample is weighed against the 95,712 students who make up the reference group. Although the results were tallied months ago, the report was only recently released to students in mid-November. “Everyone’s educated — we’re all at university — so you’d think we’d make better choices,” Brewer said.
Brewer added that a student’s decision-making process has a lot to do with his or her friends. “I’m surrounded by people who don’t really drink very much,” said Jill Bjornson, a first-year bachelor of science student. “I don’t drink to get drunk, just to socialize,” she added. “I don’t think that it’s good to be at that point where you can’t control yourself.”
Despite being higher than average, the numbers are actually down from previous years. Studies from 2006 and 2008 found an average of about seven drinks per event for males and five drinks for females. However, there are some students who are consuming considerably more than average.
“Are we talking about how many I actually consume, or how many I can remember consuming?” asked Michael Bull, a fourth-year communications major, who said he consumes an average of eight to 12 drinks. Bull said that slurred speech, stumbling, and making an ass of himself are all signs that he’s had too much to drink and needs to stop.
According to the survey, 41.9 per cent of students reported doing something they regretted after drinking. The assessment contains statistics on other topics, including sexual health, stress and nutrition. Brewer said that she’s able to provide information to students who need statistics for class assignments. The EnCana Wellness Centre is located in U216.