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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

1 in 6 Americans Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is becoming more of a major concern considering that 1 in 6 Americans is binge drinking at least four times a month, according to a new study conducted by the government. The study found that per occasion people are consuming an average of eight drinks. Binge drinking is considered for men drinking 5 or more drinks and for women 4 or more drinks. The Center of Disease Control reported that binge drinking causes more than half of the 80,000 alcohol-impaired deaths and three-quarters of the $223.5 billion in economic costs.

"What is different with this study is we studied the frequency and the intensity, and the number of episodes by different groups," says author and the CDC's alcohol program lead Robert Brewer. "The frequency is very high and the amount consumed was also very high."

Self-reported data collected during 2010 of U.S. adults ages 18 and older in 48 states and the District of Columbia was analyzed during the study.

"As dramatic as these findings are they're probably a good bit higher," says Brewer. "We've done comparisons between what people report they drink and what is sold. We're probably picking up less than a third of alcohol consumption."

The researchers also found:
  • The prevalence was twice as likely among men (23%) as that of women (11.4%).
  • Highest prevalence of binge drinking is among those between 18 and 34 years old.
  • Highest frequency is among 65-plus group.
  • Income group most likely to binge drink is more than $75,000.
  • Income group that binge drinks most often and drinks the most per binge is less than $25,000.
  • Most people who binge drink are not alcoholic.
"We're not meaning to suggest there isn't a proportion of people who are binge drinking or who are not alcohol dependent," says Brewer. "And we're not trying to diminish the importance of alcohol dependence. It's just that the large majority of people would not meet the medical definition of alcoholic."

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