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New Binge Drinking Study from the CDC

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released an alarming study on binge drinking in the U.S.  The CDC found that more than 38 million adults in the U.S. binge drink, about 4 times per month. Binge drinking is defined as having 4 or more drinks for women and 5 or more drinks for men in a short period of time. The study showed that on average, the largest number of drinks consumed was 8.

Binge drinking was found to be most common among people age 18-34 and most likely to occur in the Midwest, New England, the District of Columbia, Alaska, and Hawaii. However the study also showed that binge drinkers age 65 and older binge drink the most often at 5 to 6 times a month!  The number of drinks consumed during a binge drinking session was highest in the Midwest, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina.

The CDC’s study showed that more than half of the alcohol consumed by adults is consumed while binge drinking and that over 90% of alcohol that youth drink is consumed while binge drinking. Despite the persistence of binge drinking, most people who binge drink are not alcoholics or chemically dependent on alcohol.

The study showed that the majority of alcohol-impaired drivers are binge drinkers. The CDC found that drinking too much causes more than 80,000 deaths in the U.S. every year.

The CDC provided the following recommendations.

  • Don’t binge drink.
  • If you drink, follow the U.S. Dietary Guidelines – no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men.
  • Pregnant women should not drink.
  • Underage youth should not drink.

Photo credit: Orin Zebest from Flickr