One in three students at the prestigious Seoul National University is a binge drinker, and half of them developed their excessive drinking habit as teenagers, according to a study.
The figure almost matches the proportion of binge drinkers among adults -- 36.7 percent according to the Korean Alcohol Research Foundation -- and shows that elite students are no exception when it comes to boozing.
In a straw poll by SNU and Gwanak District Office last week of 213 students at the university, 72.3 percent said they consume alcohol and 31 percent said they drink more than seven shot glasses of soju in one sitting. The World Health Organization classifies binge drinking for men as consuming more than seven shot glasses of liquor and for women more than five.
Some of the SNU students engage in binge drinking at least once a week and others once a month.
When asked why they drink excessively, about half said they enjoy it. Most of them also said they have no intention of quitting, while only a handful said they want to cut down.
Half of the students polled began drinking as teenagers during middle or high school.
The figures are roughly in line with findings by the Korean Alcohol Research Foundation, which showed that 46.9 percent of adults over 19 started drinking as teenagers.