Binge Drinking Common in U.S. Adults, High School Students

Binge drinking reported by one in four high school students and adults under 35
By Monica Smith
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Binge drinking occurs among about a quarter of high school students and adults 18 to 34 years of age and is reported by more than 33 million U.S. adults every year, and the levels do not appear to be declining, according to a report published Oct. 5 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Dafna Kanny, Ph.D., of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and the 2009 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey to determine the prevalence of binge drinking in U.S. adults and high school students.

The researchers found that 15.2 percent of adult landline respondents and 20.6 percent of cell phone respondents reported binge drinking -- consuming at least four drinks per occasion for women and at least five drinks per occasion for men. Factors more commonly associated with binge drinking included male sex (20.7 percent), age of 18 to 24 years (25.6 percent) or 25 to 34 years (22.5 percent), white race (16 percent), and annual household income of at least $75,000 (19.3 percent). High school students reported current alcohol use, binge drinking, and binge drinking among those with current alcohol use at 41.8, 24.2, and 60.9 percent prevalence, respectively. According to the report, over 33 million U.S. adults have reported binge drinking each year and the prevalence of binge drinking among adults has not declined in more than 15 years.

"To reduce the adverse impact of binge drinking on individuals and communities, health professionals and community leaders should consider implementing interventions that have been proven in scientific studies to reduce binge drinking among adults and youths," the authors write. "The findings in this report also support the need to improve public health surveillance for binge drinking among adults by increasing the number of cellular telephone respondents to the BRFSS."

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