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Try your hand at pouring ‘standard’ drink

Stop by the Health 1st Wellness Wednesday table between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Oct. 1 in the Children’s Hospital lobby to learn about what constitutes the right amount of alcohol and enter your name in a drawing for a gift card.

by Suzanne Thomas, Ph.D.
Office of Addiction Education & Outreach
The medical advice about alcohol can be confusing.  In the right amounts, alcohol offers adults important health benefits. It reduces risk of heart disease and peripheral vascular disease. It also lowers the risk of dying of a heart attack and may lower the risk of ischemic strokes, gallstones, and diabetes. In higher amounts, however, alcohol is toxic. It increases the risk of several types of cancer (pancreas, mouth, larynx, esophagus, liver, and breast). It damages heart muscle, and increases one’s risk of stroke.  Alcohol dependence (alcoholism) can also occur as a result of brain changes produced by repeated bouts of heavy drinking. 
So what’s the right amount? How do you get the benefits of alcohol and avoid the risks? The key is in understanding the standard drink, which is 12 ounces of beer (5 percent alcohol content), 5 oz of wine, or 1.5 oz of 80-proof liquor. Moderate alcohol use—the type of drinking that affords the health benefits of alcohol—is defined as two standard drinks per day for men age 21 to 65, and one standard drink per day for women and for men 65 years of age and older.
Unfortunately, many people who drink alcohol miscalculate by pouring a drink that contains more alcohol than a standard drink should.  These mistakes mean that two drinks per day may actually be closer to four, and what is perceived as moderate drinking may not be.
Think you can pour a standard drink?  Come to the Children’s Hospital lobby from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 1 and play Wheel of Pour-tune, a game designed to teach adults how to pour a standard drink.  If you’re accurate in your pour, your name will be entered in a drawing for a $50 Target gift card. Stop by the booth also to receive a free blood alcohol estimator card and a personalized assessment to determine whether the general drinking guidelines are right for you. This Wellness Wednesday activity is sponsored by Health 1st and the Charleston Alcohol Research Center.

Health 1st events

  • Farmers Market expands. Get fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers from local farmers from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. right here on campus Fridays in the Horseshoe (location is subject to change and will be announced on broadcast messages and the Health 1st Web site). In addition, fruits and vegetables are available at Charleston Memorial Hospital (in the grassy area in the back of the facility next to the parking garage and ART) from 7 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on Fridays.
  • Flu shots for employees. Get your free flu shot at the Big Tent Flu Event from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 15 and 16 in the Horseshoe and at Ashley River Tower. The shots will also be offered at the Wellness Wednesday table from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Wednesday from Oct. 22 until Nov. 26.
  • Mobile van for mammograms. The Hollings Cancer Center van is coming to serve you from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 15. Call 792-0878 to schedule an appointment.
  • Smoking Cessation Class- Ready to quit...for life? You will receive a free medical consultation and prescriptions will be written for any approved smoking cessation medications. Call 792-9959.
  • Worksite screening. Subscribers of the State Health Plan can receive a screening thorough preventive health screening. The screening is available Oct. 23 at the Education Center/Library Building. This screening, valued at $200, is available to you for $15 (spouses can participate for $15 and dependents for $38). Employees without this insurance can participate for $38.

Friday, Sept. 26, 2008
Catalyst Online is published weekly, updated as needed and improved from time to time by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.