CDC: Binge Drinking Prevalence High in United States

Those who binge drink do so frequently and intensely

TUESDAY, Jan. 10 (HealthDay News) -- About one in six adults in the United States regularly engages in binge drinking, which accounts for more than 40,000 alcohol-related deaths every year, according to research published in the Jan. 10 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report.

Dafna Kanny, Ph.D., of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to determine the prevalence of binge drinking -- defined as consuming four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men on a single occasion -- among adults aged 18 and older in the United States.

The researchers found an overall prevalence of binge drinking of 17.1 percent, averaging 4.4 episodes each month and 7.9 drinks per occasion. Binge drinking prevalence and intensity were highest among those aged 18 to 24 years, at 28.2 percent and 9.3 drinks, respectively; while frequency was highest among binge drinkers aged 65 years and older (5.5 episodes per month).

"Binge drinking causes a wide range of health, social and economic problems and this report confirms the problem is really widespread," CDC director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., said in a statement. "We need to work together to implement proven measures to reduce binge drinking at national, state and community levels."

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