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This Holiday Season, Teach Your Kids the Science of How Drinking Alcohol Can Hurt Them
Date:12/6/2007

more likely to get sick over the holidays.

Your brain: Kids' brains are not fully developed, particularly the part that stores memory. So when you have 2-3 drinks, you are less likely to remember things that happen to you than a grown-up.

Your heart: Alcohol reduces blood flow to heart muscles causing weakness and deterioration. Of course, this is a long-term process. But if you start drinking now, as you get older it can cause problems.

3) Can drinking alcohol hurt your sports performance?

Absolutely. A recent ESPN report featuring Dr. Gary Wadler, a professor at the New York University School of Medicine, stated that drinking alcohol after a practice or a game can impair your ability to play sports for up to 14 hours. Some of the effects are slowed reaction time, problems with balance and steadiness, dehydration, and a decline in fine and complex motor skills.

4) Can drinking alcohol make you gain weight?

Yes. Drinking alcohol regularly can make you fatter particularly in your stomach. Alcohol is classified as a food not a drink because it contains calories. The average alcoholic drink has about the same amount of calories as a large baked potato but no nutritional value, so you don't get any vitamins from it.

5) Can drinking coffee or other stimulant drinks help sober you up enough to drive?

No. Caffeine is a stimulant and it can wake you up, but it does not stop alcohol's effect on making smart decisions or controlling a car. Don't be fooled by people who are "wide-awake drunks."

"Most adolescents don't really understand how alcohol affects their bodies," says Shirley Malcom, head of the Education and Human Resources directorate at AAAS. "Teaching them the science behind the damage drinking alcohol causes will hopefully make them less likely to use and abuse it."

The Science Inside Alcohol Project, funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), is developing an inter
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SOURCE American Association for the Advancement of Science
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
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