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A Drink a Day Keeps the Doctor Away? Half of Missourians believe in the health benefits of alcohol

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The old saying goes ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away,’ but what about when it comes to alcohol instead of apples? You may have heard that a daily glass of red wine could make you live longer or that a couple drinks per day can reduce your risk of stroke. Although a recent study by the University of Oxford found that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption for brain health, some have convinced themselves of the perceived health benefits of drinking. 
Rehabs.com, a leading provider of resources relating to addiction and recovery, conducted a survey of 3,000 people and found that almost half of Missourians (44%) believe in the perceived health benefits of alcohol - this compares to a national average of 39%.
Infographic illustrating survey results
The survey also asked respondents what they believed to be the main benefits of alcohol consumption. Forty-six percent thought that it reduces an individual’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease and 31% believed it can increase life expectancy. An additional 15% were under the impression that it prevents you from catching a common cold, and 8% believed it lowers the risk of diabetes.
Although the University of Oxford study found that increased consumption of alcohol correlated with a decreased volume of information-processing gray matter, more than a third of respondents (39%) said they would continue to drink alcohol, even though proven to be damaging to the brain. 
In fact, more than half (58%) admit they don’t even take notice of studies linking alcohol consumption to health problems. Perhaps ignorance is bliss?
Thirty-eight percent also stated that they would still continue to drink if trials showed that alcohol reduces life expectancy by five years.
Lastly, it’s well known that leading an unhealthy lifestyle, such as poor diet, excessive drinking and lack of exercise can have negative health consequences. While each of these factors contributes in its own way to a lack of good health, more than half (62%) of respondents believed eating junk food has worse health implications than consuming alcohol.

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