A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Americans' drinking habits reported that people who identify as binge drinkers are consuming quite a bit of alcohol, CBS News reported Friday.
Binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more alcoholic beverages for men, or four or more drinks for women, within about two hours.
Here's a number that's hard to swallow: USA adults consume more than 17 billion alcoholic drinks during binges each year, according to a new report.
That totals 17.5 billion binge drinks in 2015, which breaks down to about 470 drinks for each of the 37.4 million people who reported binge drinking.
"This study shows that binge drinkers are consuming a huge number of drinks per year, greatly increasing their chances of harming themselves and others", said study co-author Robert Brewer, M.D., M.S.P.H., lead researcher in CDC's alcohol program. "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". Adults with less than a high school education might not be as likely to be binge drinkers but consume almost twice as many drinks when they do.
About 4 in 5 total binge drinks were consumed by men.
Binge drinkers with lower household incomes (less than $25,000 a year) and lower educational levels (less than high school) consumed substantially more binge drinks per year than those with higher incomes and educational levels.
Binge drinkers consumed the most alcohol in Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky and Hawaii.
The report was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Binge drinking can result in unsafe driving, risky sexual behavior, and violent behavior.
According to the CDC, 88,000 deaths are directly attributed to alcohol use each year and half of those are due to binge drinking.
Binge drinking is a serious problem in the United States. For women, that means up to one drink per day, and up to two drinks a day for men.