Are you a binge drinker?
A glass of wine at dinner or a few drinks on a Saturday night is pretty common practice.
But, a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that many Americans consume way more than just that.
Researchers found that 17 percent of the U.S. population, or 37 million adults, binge drink once a week. Binge drinking is classified as consuming five or more drinks for men, or four or more drinks for women, in a two-hour time span.
Scientists analyzed data from the CDC’s 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and then calculated the results.
According to the study, the average binge drinker consumes seven drinks per binge. This translates to 470 binge drinks per drinker and more than 17 million drinks across the U.S. adult population in 2015.
The study also states that binge drinking accounts for more than half of the 88,000 U.S. deaths that result from excessive drinking annually.
“Binge drinkers are more likely to engage in violent acts toward themselves or others and experience unintentional injuries associated with dangerous driving, risky sexual behavior and falls,” says Lauren Evelsizer, corporate services clinician for the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill. “Excessive alcohol use can lead to long-lasting health problems including hypertension, stroke, heart disease, liver disease and cancer.”
The report shows that demographics such as age, sex, social factors and geographic location also play a role in the amount of alcohol consumed by individuals.
The study shows that four in five binge drinkers were men and more than half of the binge drinkers were 35 years and older.
In addition, yearly income and educational levels played a significant role. Individuals with household incomes less than $25,000 per year and education levels less than a high school diploma consumed more drinks per year compared to others.
According to the report, the states where the most alcohol was consumed were Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky and Hawaii.
Although binge drinking is a common problem, there are ways to reduce the urge.
“If people desire to drink alcohol, it is best to do so in moderation — up to one drink per day for women, and up to two drinks per day for men. People can also reduce their tendencies to binge drink by engaging in healthier methods of coping like exercise and meditation,” says Evelsizer.
About the Author
Cristina Meesenburg, health enews contributor, is a public affairs and marketing intern at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill. She is a senior at Illinois State University, pursuing a degree in public relations with a minor in writing. In her free time, she loves traveling, cooking and playing with her Yorkie, Sammy.