According to new research, one in four high school students and adults binge drank in the past month. Among high school students who drink, 60 percent reported that they binge drink. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines binge drinking as having four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men over the course of a few hours.
In the study, men were more than twice as likely as women to binge drink, at 21 percent, compared with 10 percent of women. Binge drinking is more common among whites than blacks, with 16 percent of whites reporting binge drinking, compared with 10 percent of blacks.
"Binge drinking increases many health risks, including fatal car crashes, contracting a sexually transmitted disease, dating violence and drug overdoses," said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden.
Most binge drinkers are not alcoholics, however, their behavior comes without recognizing the health risk or the danger their behavior creates for others. The report was part of the CDC’s new monthly Vital Signs reports and was co-authored by Dr. Robert Brewer, alcohol program leader at the CDC.
The team studied information on self-reported binge drinking within the prior month among 412,000 Americans over 18, and from among 16,000 students between the ages of 14 and 18 from a youth behavior risk survey.
"Alarmingly, almost one in three adults and two in three high school students who drink alcohol also binge drink, which usually leads to intoxication," said Brewer.
Excessive drinking kills more than 79,000 people in the United States each year. Binge drinking rates vary across the country, from 6.8 percent of adults who drink alcohol in Tennessee, to 23,9 percent in Wisconsin. A quarter of high school students and adults engaged in binge drinking. In May, the World Health Organization agreed on a plan to curb binge drinking through new guidelines that recommend higher taxes on the purchase of alcohol and tighter marketing regulations.
The World Health Organization estimates that risks linked to alcohol cause 2.5 million deaths each year from heart and liver disease, car accidents, suicides and cancers. Excessive drinking is the third-leading cause of premature deaths and disabilities around the world.