Annually, binge drinking is responsible for more than half of the 88,000 alcohol-attributable deaths and three-quarters of the $249 billion in economic costs associated with excessive drinking in the United States.
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The study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, found that 37.4 million Americans, or one out of every six adults, binge drink about once a week. Binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more drinks for men, or four or more drinks for women, in about two hours.
Americans are no strangers to boozing it up, according to a new study that found that one in six United States adults are binge drinkers.
That includes how many days they drank, the average number of drinks consumed and the largest number of drinks they had on any one occasion.
While binge drinking was more common among younger adults age 18 to 34, more than half of the binge drinks consumed over the study period were by adults age 35 and older.
About 4 in 5 total binge drinks were consumed by men. That's about 14 billion of those 17.5 billion drinks, and they were drinking about twice as much as women.
Comparing the race of binge drinkers, the researchers found the biggest drinkers were non-Hispanic whites (19.2 percent) and American Indians/Alaska Natives (17.9 percent). Meanwhile, Washington DC, New Jersey, New York, and Washington had the fewest numbers of binge drinkers.
The dangers of binge drinking can range from social issues like unintentional injuries, interpersonal violence and suicide. "The findings also show the importance of taking a comprehensive approach to prevent binge drinking, focusing on reducing both the number of times people binge drink and the amount they drink when they binge". Research has shown that binge drinking can result in unsafe driving, risky sexual behavior, and more violent behavior, and it also increases the risk of cancer, heart disease and liver failure.
His recommendations: doctors need to screen for alcohol dependence, but more is needed from a community and policy standpoint.
Public health officials recommend that people who want to consume alcohol should do so in moderation. The study appears in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.