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The science behind booze’s sports sponsorship

  • December 3rd, 2015

The New York Times reports on research suggesting there is something mutually reinforcing about sport and drinking (beer). It seems the connection could be more beneficial than just liquor industry commercial opportunism.

“When the researchers collated and compared the data from their volunteers, they found, for the first time, an unequivocal correlation between exercising on any given day and subsequently drinking, especially if someone exercised more than usual. As the scientists write in their study, which was published recently in Health Psychology, “people drank more than usual on the same days that they engaged in more physical activity than usual.””

Lobbyist Bruce Robertson of Hospitality NZ has had a lonely battle recently. The Police have abandoned political neutrality. They are always in favour of new fences at the top of cliffs they excavate in his territory, by wanting prohibitions instead of law against drunk pests.  The prudes of main stream media seek stories aligned with the political Mrs Grundies always looking for new bans to impose, to signal their virtue.

Lately however, Bruce must have felt some comfort as the modern clerics of health politics have divided their attentions. Tobacco has always engaged them. For decades there’s been fat to fight. But now there’s sugar. Sugar is perfect. Those who’ve hated fat vendors McDonalds and KFC (as their grandparents hated Satan and page 3 girls) can neatly segue into hating sugar and the same fast food chains as satanic sugar agents. Alcohol has had mates in its Coventry.

Still Bruce will surely be glad to get something good about beer. Many of us don’t much like red wine despite its (dodgy) claim to health benefits. We’ve probably stopped reading or listening to bad news stories on beer. So we won’t be surprised by this report. For example:

“The camaraderie created on the practice field or among workout partners can nudge exercisers to reconvene convivially at the local bar, and those gatherings may motivate reluctant exercisers to stick with their routines, because they feel rewarded afterward”

Of course.

This will get plenty of (social) media circulation. That should be a nice accompaniment to Bruce’s retirement, especially if he has some vigorous excercise in mind.

Disclaimer – I hate what sugar is doing to us (and what tobacco has done). But that does not mean government should have power to stop adults making their own choices on how they want to harm themselves (or not).



  • Mark Wright
  • December 3rd, 2015
  • 5:08 pm

Hi Stephen.

that does not mean government should have power to stop adults making their own choices on how they want to harm themselves …

1. Would you therefore decriminalising all recreational drugs?

2. Do you class restricting of advertising as “government stopping”?

If “yes” to both the above, would you therefore allow advertising of all hard drugs?

Finally, if “no” to any of the above (and the question I’m most interested in), why not?

  • Roger Strong
  • December 10th, 2015
  • 12:48 pm

I think the comment from Mark typifies the confusion there is with some people have between things which are harmful across all of humanity and the things that are harmful if taken to excess. Alcohol is some form has been around for ever and is so readily manufactured that banning is pointless besides in moderation is generally relatively harmless. Tobacco is harmful in any quantity. I think a study of some of the people who form these abolitionist groups would be fascinating. The enthusiasm is almost religious in its intensity.

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