Binge drinking on the rise among women and girls
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study shows 14 million U.S. adult women, or 1 in 8, report binge drinking. Among men and women, estimates show that more than 38 million American adults binge drink and are doing so on a more frequent basis.
Binge drinking is defined as women drinking four or more alcoholic drinks within a short period of time or men drinking five or more drinks within a short period of time. Binge drinking causes approximately 80,000 deaths in the U.S. each year ranging from automobile crashes, suicide and murder.
“Women who binge drink tend to do so frequently – about three times a month – and in large amounts,” says CDC researcher Dafna Kanny. Women have about six drinks on an occasion, which would typically be about two to three hours. The study finds bingeing is even more common among younger people – about 40 percent of high school girls drink, and half of them report binge drinking, according to Kanny.
Physicians say the issue isn’t just about teens losing overindulging.
“It isn’t just a problem with high school girls or college-age women,” says Dr. Kendra Hall, emergency medicine physician at Advocate Condell Medical Center,Libertyville, Ill. “We also see adult women in the ED suffering injuries from intoxication.”
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, binge drinking increases the chances of breast cancer, heart disease and many other health problems in women. Drinking at all during pregnancy can lead to sudden infant death syndrome and fetal alcohol disorder in the child.
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