October 6, 2010

One In Four Partake In Binge Drinking

U.S. government researchers said on Tuesday that one in four high school students and adults between the ages 18 and 34 have engaged in binge drinking in the past month.

They said that among high school students who drink, 60 percent said they binge drink.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines binge drinking as four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men over the span of a few hours.

Twenty percent of men reported that they have partaken in binge drinking, compared to 10 percent of women.

Binge drinking was more common among whites than blacks, with 16 percent of whites admitting to binge drinking, compared to 10 percent of blacks.

"Binge drinking increases many health risks, including fatal car crashes, contracting a sexually transmitted disease, dating violence and drug overdoses," CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said in a statement.

Dr. Robert Brewer, alcohol program leader at CDC and one of the authors of the report, said that while most binge drinkers are not alcoholics, they often take chances with alcohol without realizing the risks to their health or the danger they pose to others.

The researchers studied data on self-reported drinking among about 412,000 U.S. adults 18 years of age or older from a 2009 behavioral risk survey.  They also used data from 16,000 U.S. students between the ages 14 and 18 from a youth behavior risk survey.

"Alarmingly, almost one in three adults and two in three high school students who drink alcohol also binge drink, which usually leads to intoxication," Brewer said in a statement.

Excessive drinking kills over 79,000 people every year in the U.S.

Binge drinking varies widely from state to state, ranging from 6.8 percent of adults who drink alcohol in Tennessee to 23.9 percent in Wisconsin.

The researchers found that a quarter of high school students and adults between the ages 18 and 34 engaged in binge drinking.

"States and communities need to consider further strategies to create an environment that discourages binge drinking," Brewer said in a statement.

The World Health Organization agreed on a plan in May to curb binge drinking and other forms of excessive alcohol use through guidelines that recommend higher taxes on alcoholic drinks.

The WHO said that risks linked to alcohol cause 2.5 million deaths a year from heart and liver disease, road accidents, suicides and cancers.

Drinking too much is the third-leading cause of premature deaths and disabilities around the world.


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