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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

A peek at Bangkok’s Soi Twilight

John Ryan Mendoza discovers Bangkok’s infamous go-go bars and boys. And while he admits that “I did feel my pulse pound and felt some internal heat rise at the initial minutes of my first experience,” after a while, “all I see is impersonal and mechanical ramming.” For the heck of it, though, he believes it is something worth checking out.

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THAT FIRST TIME

10:00 PM.
It was too early to party in Silom Soi 2. And there was still no text from a gay Pinoy friend who was passing through Bangkok on his way to Bangladesh. So I walked to Silom Soi 4 and I saw a vacant table at Telephone Pub. I took a seat and killed some time over a bottle of cold Thai beer.  I could actually feel stares from those around me crawl over my skin. I was the only Asian guy in the middle of al fresco tables full of more mature Caucasian men. Conversations were hushed. The beats pulsated loud just across where all the Asian men were. With company, it could have been fine, but my alcohol intake still wasn’t enough to not care at all. I inserted the few Bahts under the bottle and walked my way to Patpong.

The street night bazaar was still bustling with tourists. Souvenirs, shirts, faux Rolexes, Valium, and all sorts of other stuff were everywhere. I’d rather go to either Pratunam or Jatujak for some of these things. I headed to the sidewalk, where I was approached by a guy who offered me the “Pussy Ping Pong” menu. He led me to the doorway of one of the bars with an ongoing show. It was certainly pussy, not playing ping pong, but with a paintbrush. She was drawing an elephant. Cultural pride, indeed. Of course, this was not any of the choices I would order.

11:00 PM.
At Surawong Road I finally found the flashing neon lights of Soi Twilight (Soi Pratuchai) with keywords “boys”, “show”, “men”, “big”. Crowds of people came and went at the entrance. I was welcomed by an overly eager Thai guy who kept repeating “fucking show” and “11:30” as he aggressively led me to Boys of Bangkok.

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Bangkok2The sight of an array of boys and men in tight skimpy briefs on stage greeted me. Twink, muscled, chubby, androgynous, pale white, dark brown, tattooed, pierced, smooth, scarred… these were some of the options moneyed patrons can choose from. I sat on a bleacher at a corner and checked my phone for messages. A floor manager came to me and pointed to the sign that says phones that would take photos will be confiscated and then took my order of a bottle of beer priced at 150 Baht. Men, young and old, and some women started to fill the seats as the guys on stage periodically rotated to showcase their wares.

Then the lights started to dim and the club music shifted to some sort of drum roll. All the guys exited to the back stage. A few moments later and on cue with another round of club music, a tall, pale, slim, androgynous looking guy with heavy dark eye make-up and a cape came out. He sashayed to the front of the stage, and then he turned around, removing his cape to flaunt a big bare erection. He did another round of touring on stage, now stroking himself. He then disappeared behind the back curtains.

Then he came out again, now on all fours and a leash on his neck attached to a chain held by a brown muscled guy with a condomed hard-on. The guy on the floor crawled to the front of the stage while the other was prepping himself with lube and got hold of a roll of tissue. Then ready to receive while still on all fours, the leashed guy started to get slowly rammed from behind. Some cartoony sounding Thai music started playing and the thrusts seemed to be synced to the beats. Then positions shifted from doggy to missionary to standing to walking and, lastly, while swinging on chains attached to the ceiling.

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After some 10 minutes or less, they stood up and went behind the curtains and were replaced by another couple, muscled and tattooed Thai men. Unceremoniously, the other one just bent over and then the other one instantaneously got in and went on with the same routine.

Then after some prescribed time, they just stood up and left. Then the lights glared and the gallery of guys was there again. The floor manager sat beside me and asked me who among the guys I wanted. He then pointed to some, then advertised them to me with statements like “Number 4 has a big dick. You like?” and “Same your age or you want younger like number 11? He can do everything.” I just smiled, refused through some little Thai words I know, paid my bill, and got out.

12:30 AM.
My friend finally arrived with his female colleague. We tried to find any of those shows, but unfortunately, show time was really over. We decided to party, instead, at DJ Station.

ANOTHER TIME…

In my more recent visit, I toured two gay friends and their hetero colleagues to these shows. When we got to the area, we expectedly got assertively greeted by a guy who was saying “very big” and kept on clasping his forearm. Curious, we gave in to the advert and found ourselves at another bar located upstairs.

Same guys-in-briefs galore on stage welcomed us. This time, it was less diverse. The guy options seemed to be more skewed towards the twink category. At this bar, there was a preliminary dance show of two guys in see-through underwear gyrating against each other over some American ballad.  The next set was another couple now bare and hard, just stroking. Now we were convinced that the forearm clasping advertising guy on the street was indeed accurate. After some rounds on stage, they went down to the audience to give everyone more up-close experience (of course for some tip).

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Then the main show.  This bar this time is quite challenged in their casting. The fuckee had no front teeth and seemed drugged out of his wits and the tattooed skinny fucker was obviously exerting effort to pretend to even like it. We just had another bonus for a show of some suckfest happening behind us in the bleachers between a guy from the stage and a very enthusiastic customer.

Overall, I did feel my pulse pound and felt some internal heat rise at the initial minutes of my first experience. But after a while, all I see is impersonal and mechanical ramming. Yet still, I do recommend anyone who is interested to see this for him/herself, for fun or we can just euphemize it as an “anthropological exposure.”

Enjoy Silom!

A registered nurse, John Ryan (or call him "Rye") Mendoza hails from Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao (where, no, it isn't always as "bloody", as the mainstream media claims it to be, he noted). He first moved to Metro Manila in 2010 (supposedly just to finish a health social science degree), but fell in love not necessarily with the (err, smoggy) place, but it's hustle and bustle. He now divides his time in Mindanao (where he still serves under-represented Indigenous Peoples), and elsewhere (Metro Manila included) to help push for equal rights for LGBT Filipinos. And, yes, he parties, too (see, activists need not be boring! - Ed).

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Hungary eyes to end legal recognition of trans people

A draft law proposed by the Hungarian government eyes to end legal gender recognition for transgender people. The bill stipulates that gender should be defined as “biological sex based on primary sex characteristics and chromosomes”.

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Photo by Florian van Duyn from Unsplash.com

A draft law proposed by the Hungarian government eyes to end legal gender recognition for transgender people. The bill stipulates that gender should be defined as “biological sex based on primary sex characteristics and chromosomes”. As such, it would record people’s “sex at birth” in the Hungarian civil registry, making it impossible to change anyone’s legally recognized gender.

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán’s government previously introduced a measure that in effect banned universities from teaching gender studies.

Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights Dunja Mijatović called on Hungary’s parliament not to adopt the law, saying that the measure was in contravention of human rights standards and the case law of the European court of human rights.

“Transgender persons have the right to legal recognition of their gender based on self-determination. This is an essential step to ensure respect for their human rights in all areas of life. Legal gender recognition is a matter of human dignity,” she said in a statement.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Not all men idolize Western ideals of muscularity

A study examining attitudes and behaviors among males from three different countries found men in non-Western cultures were less preoccupied with body appearance.

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Photo from Pixabay.com

It turns out that there may be some limits to the influence of Western culture on the rest of the world, after all. A new paper in Frontiers in Psychology that examined men’s attitudes towards and behaviors around muscularity in three countries found than non-Western men were generally less hung up about their body image and pursuing a muscular physique than Western men.

“However, we did still find evidence that men in these populations are influenced by both other men around them and by the media,” said lead author Dr. Tracey Thornborrow at the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom.

Most of the research on sociocultural influences, like media portrayals that shape male ideals and behaviors around muscularity and masculinity, have focused on so-called WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic) populations. That means many of the conclusions around the drive for muscularity and its negative behaviors, such as steroid use and unhealthy dieting, are very Western-centric.

But men in all populations are influenced by both other men around them and by the media.
Photo by Dollar Gill from Unsplash.com

Thornborrow and the other UK scientists on the team wanted to learn if those attitudes translated to countries with different cultural norms, so they compared a cohort of British men against Ugandan and Nicaraguan males.

The study collected and assessed a number of parameters from each group, ranging from demographics and body mass index (BMI) to feelings about media influences and peer pressure on achieving an idealized appearance to personal body goals.

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Participants also ranked the perceived level of muscularity of their current body and their ideal body on the Male Adiposity and Muscularity Scale (MAMS). Designed by the Person Perception Lab at the University of Lincoln, the new scale uses two-dimensional images created from 3D software, providing a more realistic range of body types and sizes based on measurements of real people.

The researchers also used a form of artificial intelligence to find patterns in that data that might predict which ethnic groups would be driven toward behaviors to achieve more muscle regardless of country of origin.

“We used machine learning methods because they are good at determining if sociocultural factors, such as media and ethnicity, and a drive for muscularity, make it more likely that men will actively want to change their bodies,” said co-author Tochukwu Onwuegbusi, also out of the University of Lincoln, who crunched the numbers on the study.

For example, the data from the current study suggest that being a Caucasian man in the UK or a Miskitu man in Nicaragua means that he would more likely believe that one should be muscular. Such men are more likely to engage in muscle-building activities, such as weight training or drinking protein shakes.

Motivations behind the drive toward a more muscle-bound frame can be complex, Thornborrow noted. For instance, men from certain ethnic groups in Nicaragua who reported being less concerned with physical appearance were still likely to try to increase muscle mass.

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These non-media influenced motivations “could include local ideas about masculinity, and a muscular body being a visual indicator of a working man, not a lazy man,” Thornborrow explained. “In rural Nicaragua, many men will engage in physical work, such as farming, fishing, and construction, so a muscular body is associated with being a hard-working man.”

While there is growing evidence that men in Western countries are experiencing a lot of pressure to conform to stereotypical body ideals, similarly to women, the picture emerging in non-WEIRD populations is less clear. More research is needed to better understand the consequences of these other cultural attitudes and behaviors around body image.

Motivations behind the drive toward a more muscle-bound frame can be complex.
Photo by Amsnel Gorgonio from Unsplash.com

“This study, in particular, shows how there can be variation within groups — for example, nations or ethnic groups — and so it becomes more important to ensure any strategies or interventions are tailored to the specific cultural context,” Thornborrow said.

Weight is a big issue in the LGBTQIA community.

In February 2019, for instance, a study noted that 44% to 70% of LGBTQ teens reported weight-based teasing from family members, 41% to 57% reported weight-based teasing from peers, and as many as 44% reported weight-based teasing from both family members and peers.

Meanwhile, in October 2019, another study noted that weight stigma affects men using dating apps. Specifically, Grindr, the most popular dating app for gay, bisexual, two-spirit and queer men, had a negative effect on men’s body image, especially when it came to weight. Three out of four gay men are reported to have used Grindr.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

How to write term paper introduction

In order not to miss anything important when writing an introduction to the term paper, we advise you to follow the instructions and follow all the tips that are outlined in the article.

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In order not to miss anything important when writing an introduction to the term paper, we advise you to follow the instructions and follow all the tips that are outlined in the article.

So, for a high-quality writing introduction:

Describe the relevance of the work 

Relevance is the significance of your topic in the modern world, that is, what role does your research play in developing your topic, whether your topic is needed in real life. Any hypotheses should be supported by evidence. It is evident that it is extremely difficult to do it properly so it might be a good opportunity to address RapidEssay service where the professional writers will create a perfect introduction for you.

If the reader, having studied the relevance of the topic written by you, was able to answer the question “Why do I need to study this problem?”, then you coped with the statement of relevance. You can start the description of relevance with the following phrases:

  • The relevance of the topic is…;
  • The topic under study is relevant because…;
  • The relevance of the work lies in…

Describe in detail the problems of your research 

That is, put a question relevant to your topic that you will need to answer during the study and research of the topic. For example, your topic is “Types of economic systems,” the question may be “What are the advantages of different types of economic systems?”

Clearly articulate and set the objectives of your term paper 

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Usually, a student has only four tasks, half of which relate to the theoretical part and a half to the practical. Tasks should be set in accordance with the purpose of the work and help to achieve it.

The tasks can be formulated as follows:

  • To study and analyze various literature on this topic. 
  • Highlight and explore the basic terms and concepts on a given topic. 
  • Identify and analyze the impact of some indicators on the development of this topic. 
  • Give your own recommendations for improving the issue of a given topic. 

State a clear and concise goal of your term paper 

The goal is the expected result, the result that you want to get from the study. Ask yourself why are you researching your topic and state a brief and understandable goal. The goal should solve the problem that you set and fully comply with the relevance of your work. The goal can be formulated as follows: “The aim is to study the statistics of divorces in a particular area” or “The purpose of the research is to collect data and analyze the demand for dairy products.” Associate your goal with work tasks.

Indicate the object of your research 

Students often confuse the object of research with the subject but these are completely different concepts. An object is a whole field of research within which lies your theme. This concept is much broader than the subject of research.

The subject of research 

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The subject of research, which must be indicated in the introduction of the term paper, is the individual characteristics of the object. A correctly formulated subject of research allows you to narrow the circle of information search to such an extent that there is no doubt about the correctness of writing a term paper. Very often an item is simply a repetition of the name of your topic.

The subject may be a narrow focus. In the course work, it can be noted as follows: “the subject of this topic is the worldview of secondary school children” or “The behavior of tree beetles in the spring.”

Think about and briefly describe what methods, sources, and documents you are going to use, as well as in the practical part of the work. Indicate why you chose them.

Do not forget to express your own opinion about the research topic and put forward hypotheses that you can prove or disprove during the study. When writing an introduction, rely on your own considerations.

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Health & Wellness

Fiber consumption linked to lower breast cancer risk

Lifestyle factors, such as modifiable dietary practices, may affect breast cancer risk.

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Photo by Pontus Ohlsson from Unsplash.com

Consuming a diet high in fiber was linked with a reduced incidence of breast cancer in an analysis of all relevant prospective studies. The findings are published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Because studies have generated inconsistent results regarding the potential relationship between fiber intake and breast cancer, Maryam Farvid, PhD, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and her colleagues searched for all relevant prospective studies published through July 2019.

When the investigators pooled data from the 20 observational studies they identified, individuals with the highest consumption of fiber had an eight percent lower risk of breast cancer. Soluble fiber was associated with lower risks of breast cancer, and higher total fiber intake was associated with a lower risk in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women.

“Our study contributes to the evidence that lifestyle factors, such as modifiable dietary practices, may affect breast cancer risk,” said Dr. Farvid. “Our findings provide research evidence supporting the American Cancer Society dietary guidelines, emphasizing the importance of a diet rich in fiber, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.”

Importantly, the findings do not demonstrate that dietary fiber directly reduces breast cancer risk, and a randomized clinical trial is needed to test such cause and effect.

Breast cancer is an important issue for members of he LGBTQIA community. A 2019 study, for instance, noted that transgender patients had 70% lower odds of being screened for breast cancer, 60% lower odds of being screened for cervical cancer, and 50% lower odds of being screened for colorectal cancer.

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A separate 2019 study also noted that male breast cancer (MBC) (including members of the LGBTQIA community) comprises one percent of all breast cancer cases, yet no prospective randomized clinical trials specifically focused on MBC have been successfully completed.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Australia’s top 5 finest mortgage rates

Hiring a mortgage broker may help you find the best deal that fits perfectly with your budget.

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When planning to apply for a mortgage, we always look into details, especially regarding the rates and fees. We don’t want to pay more on hidden charges, so we become very vigilant when it comes to the costs in our mortgage.

Hiring a mortgage broker may help you find the best deal that fits perfectly with your budget. If you’re curious about the process of hiring a mortgage broker, you can check out https://darwinbroker.com.au/

The Role Of A Mortgage Broker

If you are not sure about the type of mortgage you should get or want to land a good mortgage deal, then you should hire a mortgage broker. Listed below are the roles and tasks that your mortgage broker can do for you.

  • Brokers know a lot of lenders and can find you a perfect lender based on your situation and budget. They will act as the middleman between you and your lender throughout the process, so you don’t have to settle the negotiation yourself.
  • They can find the best option for you and your budget. Brokers have access to all possible plans that can help you save more money. They are knowledgeable of the offers lenders could give, and can also ask them to waive some fees for you. 
  • One day of processing your mortgage is not enough, so doing it alone can take you days to finish. This can get in the way of your life’s daily routine. By having a broker, you will be spared from all of the hassles. Your broker will gladly handle the process for you. 
  • Your credit rating may also benefit from having a broker. In the event that a lender will decline your application, it will show on your credit report. However, a broker can secure your anonymity during mortgage shopping and spare your credit report from any possible records of rejection. 
  • Brokers will handle all the paperwork during the mortgage application process. Your only role is to provide them with the necessary documents for the application. Their years of experience can help you immediately settle everything with your lender.
  • Brokers are trained to help those who have limited knowledge with the mortgage process and ensure that they experience a smooth mortgage application process. With their years of experience, it is safe to say that they are already an expert in this field. They know about all the ins and outs of a mortgage more than anyone you can think of. 
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Now that you already know what a mortgage broker can do for you,  you can now decide if you’re better off doing it by yourself, or if it’s better if you are going to hire a professional make the process easier. Sure, you can do it on your own, but you will not have the knowledge and the access that a broker has. 

Top 5 Best Mortgage Rates

There are lots of banks and lending companies that offer a reasonable rate for their borrowers. Check out this list of the top 5 best mortgage rates in Australia to give you an insight. Aside from the mortgage rates, each lender’s real-time ratings and other relevant information will also be mentioned below.

  1. Reduce Low Rider Home Loan. With an advertised rate of 2.44%pa and a comparison rate of 2.47%pa, Reduce Low Rider Home Loan is the lowest amongst 47 home loan offers. They have a real-time rate of 4.36 out of 5 stars. There will be no ongoing fees charged and offers a free redraw facility. Its maximum Loan-to-Value ratio is 80%. The rate provided is variable.
  2. Star Essentials Home Loan. Having an advertised rate of 2.49%pa and a comparison rate of 2.52%pa, Star Essentials Home Loan comes second in the list. With a real-time rating of 4.36 out of 5, the loan offers a variable rate and a Loan-to-Value ratio of 80%. Just like the Low Rider Home Loan, they don’t charge ongoing fees and come with a free redraw facility. 
  3. Smart Home Loan. Being the third on the list, Smart Home Loan has an advertised rate of 2.53%pa and a comparison rate of 2.55%pa with a variable rate structure. It also has an 80% Loan-to-Value Ratio, with no ongoing fee charges and a free redraw facility. This loan plan is almost similar to the loans in numbers 1 and 2. It also has an equal real-time rating of 4.36 out of 5 with the top 2 lenders. 
  4. Yard Home Loan. The fourth-best rate in Australia, Yard offers a 2.66%pa advertised rate and a 2.69%pa comparison rate under the variable rate structure. They’re also offering a fixed rate structure with a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 5 years repayment period. They have the highest real-time ratings, with 4.50 out of 5 stars. It has no ongoing fees, and you can even sign your parents as guarantors. They also offer an 80% Loan-to-Value Ratio.
  5. Macquarie Basic Home Loan. This Bank offers a fixed interest rate structure with three years repayment period and a Loan-to-Value Ratio of 70%. Macquarie provides two kinds of home loan: the Basic and the Offset. Their Basic Home Loan has a lower comparison rate than the Offset and offers an advertised percentage of 2.84%pa and a comparison rate of 2.84%pa. Macquarie also has a low real-time rating, with 4.04 out of 5 stars. 
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Having a broker with vast knowledge about the best mortgage rates in your country can make you feel secure with your mortgage plan. You can mention these lenders to your broker and see what they can say about it. Your broker might already have one of them in mind.

Takeaway

Don’t just rush into applying for a mortgage without knowing anything about the process. Having someone like a broker that knows what they’re doing will benefit you. But do not forget to do your research and decide if an offer leans in your favor. There is nothing wrong with being careful, especially if it involves the money we’ve worked so hard to earn. 

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Health & Wellness

Heavy drinking into older age adds 4 cm to waistline

More than half of drinkers aged 59 and over have been heavy drinkers and this is linked to a significantly larger waistline and increased stroke risk, according to a new UCL study.

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Photo by annca from Pixabay.com

More than half of drinkers aged 59 and over have been heavy drinkers and this is linked to a significantly larger waistline and increased stroke risk, according to a new UCL study.

The study, published in the journal Addiction, examined the association between heavy drinking over a lifetime and a range of health indicators including cardiovascular disease.

The researchers used data from the Whitehall II cohort, which collected information from UK civil servants, aged 34-56 years at study outset, since 1985-88. The final sample for this study was made up of 4,820 older adults, aged between 59 and 83 years. The mean (average) age was 69, and 75% were male.

It found that heavy alcohol consumption over a lifetime is associated with higher blood pressure, poorer liver function, increased stroke risk, larger waist circumferences and body mass index (BMI) in later life, even if you stop drinking heavily before age 50. However, stopping heavy drinking at any point in life is likely to be beneficial for overall health.

Dr Linda Ng Fat (UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care), first author on the study, said: “Alcohol misuse, despite the common perception of young people binge drinking, is common among older adults, with alcohol related hospital admissions in England being the highest among adults aged over 50.

“Previous studies have focused on single snapshots of consumption, which has the potential to mask the cumulative effects of drinking. This study raises awareness of the effect of alcohol consumption over the life-course.”

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A heavy drinker was identified using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test for Consumption (AUDIT-C), a standard screening tool for GPs. The screening tool consists of just three questions, and assesses how often you drink, how much you drink, and how often you binge (have six or more drinks). To provide an example a person who has three or four drinks, four or more times a week, would score positive as a hazardous drinker on the AUDIT-C.

Participants were asked on a single occasion to complete the AUDIT-C retrospectively for each decade of their life, from 16-19 to 80 and over. This information was used to categorise their life-time drinking pattern: never hazardous drinker, former early hazardous drinker (stopped before age 50), former later hazardous drinker (stopped at age 50 or after), current hazardous drinker, and consistent hazardous drinker (during every decade of their life).

More than half of drinkers (56%) had been hazardous drinkers at some point in their life, with 21% being current hazardous drinkers and 5% being consistent hazardous drinkers.

Current and consistent heavy drinkers were mainly male (80% and 82%, respectively), predominately white, and likely to be in senior level jobs (61% compared with 52% in the total sample).

Former later, current and consistent hazardous drinkers had significantly higher systolic blood pressure and poorer liver function, than never hazardous drinkers, after adjusting for lifestyle factors. Among current hazardous drinkers, systolic blood pressure was 2.44 mmHG higher and gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), a marker of liver disease, was elevated by 22.64 IU/l, compared with never hazardous drinkers.

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Current hazardous drinkers had three times greater risk of stroke and former later hazardous drinkers had approximately two times higher risk of non-cardiovascular disease mortality compared with never hazardous drinkers.

Lifetime hazardous drinkers had significantly larger waist circumferences and BMI than never hazardous drinkers, with the magnitude increasing with more current and consistent hazardous drinking.

Former early hazardous drinkers on average had a 1.17 cm larger waist than never hazardous drinkers, whereas former later hazardous drinkers, current hazardous drinkers and consistent hazardous drinkers had a waist circumference that was 1.88 cm, 2.44 cm and 3.85cm larger respectively.

Dr Ng Fat added: “This suggests that the longer adults engage in heavy drinking the larger their waistline in older age. That is why it is beneficial, along with other health benefits, that adults reduce heavy drinking earlier rather than later.”

Professor Annie Britton (UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care), senior author on the study, said: “Despite high prevalence of stroke and liver disease steadily increasing… heavy drinking remains common among older adults.” And so “early intervention and screening for alcohol consumption, as part of regular check-ups, could help reduce hazardous drinking among this demographic.”

The research was carried out with University of Cambridge. It was funded by the UK Medical Research Council/Alcohol Research UK and European Research Council.

It is worth noting that alcoholism is an issue for many members of the LGBTQIA community. In 2017, for instance, a study found that bisexual people have higher odds of engaging in alcohol use behaviors when compared with people from the sexual majority. This is according to a study that – also worth highlighting – similarly found that bullying mediated sexual minority status and alcohol use more particularly among bisexual females.

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