Today’s Headlines: Drinking Wine, Weight Perception and Hangovers

Keeping your wine consumption under control. A single drink on a daily basis can be good for your health, but controlling your intake can be challenging. A new study out this week looked at factors that influence how much wine a person pours. Participants were asked to pour either white or red wine into glasses of various shapes and sizes and were given different instructions about pouring. “Wide glasses caused subjects to pour 11.9% more than narrow ones. Holding the glass as opposed to leaving it on the table resulted in a 12.2% bigger serving. And when the glass sizes were the same, participants poured 9.2% less red wine than white because, the researchers theorize, the lower color contrast between white wine and a clear glass makes the glass look less full.” Researchers found gender and BMI also mattered. “Men in the study poured more than the women did and men with high BMI poured about 19% more than men with average BMI. For women, body mass didn’t make a difference.” Using a rule of thumb for measuring also helped. When asked to follow the rule “drink as much as you want, but fill the glass only halfway up each time you pour,” high-BMI men drank 31% less than those who didn’t, and men of average BMI drank 26% less. Women, on the whole, drank 27% less when they used the half-empty rule.” (TIME)

Parents of obese kids think they’re okay. Obesity is a problem for all age groups in the U.S., but it looks like the changing bodies of Americans are affecting the weights we think are okay. A new study out this week “examined height and weight data on 2,871 children from the 1988 to 1994 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and 3,202 similar kids from the 2005 to 2010 cycles of the survey…In the 1988 to 1994 data set, 78 percent of parents of an overweight boy and 61 percent of parents of an overweight girl, identified the child as ‘about the right weight.’ That number increased to 83 percent for boys and 78 percent for girls in the 2005 to 2010 period. Similarly, for obese boys, 26 percent of parents said they were ‘about the right weight’ in 1988 compared to 37 percent in 2010.” And it wasn’t just the parents. “Many kids also identify themselves as about the right weight even if they are overweight or obese, and those kids are less likely to try to lose weight.” This is concerning because parents who perceive their child’s weight as a problem are more likely to try and encourage healthy eating and exercise. (Reuters)

Getting hangovers might be genetic. While a night of heavy drinking is the surest way to end up with a headache the next morning, a new study from Australia indicates that genetics may influence how likely that is to happen. “Researchers looked for links between the study participants’ genetic makeups and the number of hangovers they reported in the past year. The results showed that genetic factors accounted for 45 percent of the difference in hangover frequency in women and 40 percent in men. The other half probably comes from outside influences unrelated to DNA, such as how quickly a person drinks, whether they eat while they drink and their tolerance for alcohol.” The authors think these findings might help identify people at risk for alcoholism since those with the genetic predisposition “also drank to the point of being intoxicated more frequently than people who didn’t have the hangover genes.” (Fox)