Binge Drinking Under-Recognized Problem Among Women
and Girls; Few Senior Women are Abusers
Jan. 11, 2013 - A new
report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
report says nearly 14 million U.S. women and girls binge
drink about three times a month, but senior citizens do not
appear to be a big part of the problem.
report finds that about 1 in 8 women and 1 in 5 high school
girls report binge drinking. Binge drinking was most common
among women aged 18-34 and high school girls, whites and
Hispanics, and women with household incomes of $75,000 or
more. Half of all high school girls who drink alcohol report
The good news is the only about three
percent of women age 65 and older were identified as binge
Key Points on Alcohol Consumption from the 2010 US
Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Don’t begin drinking or drink more frequently on the
basis of potential health benefits.
If you do choose to drink, do so in moderation. This
is defined as up to 1 drink a day for women or 2 for
Don’t drink at all if you are under age
21, pregnant or may be pregnant, or have health
problems that could be made worse by drinking.
Binge drinking is
defined as consuming four or more drinks on an occasion for
women and girls. Drinking too much, including binge
drinking, causes about 23,000 deaths among women and girls
in the United States each year
Binge drinking is a
dangerous behavior that can lead to tragic circumstances.
It’s not often recognized as a women’s health problem but
nearly 14 million U.S. women binge drink about three times a
month, and consume an average of six drinks per binge.
The report highlights
how binge drinking puts women at increased risk for many
health problems such as breast cancer, sexually transmitted
diseases, heart disease, and unintended pregnancy.
women who binge drink expose a developing baby to high
levels of alcohol, which can lead to fetal alcohol spectrum
disorders and sudden infant death syndrome.
“Binge drinking causes
many health problems, and there are proven ways to prevent
excessive drinking,” said CDC Director Thomas Frieden, M.D.,
M.P.H. “Effective community measures can support women and
girls in making wise choices about whether to drink or how
much to drink if they do.”
CDC scientists looked
at the drinking behavior of approximately 278,000 U.S. women
aged 18 and older for the past 30 days through data
collected from the 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance
System, and for approximately 7,500 U.S. high school girls
from the 2011 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
The report highlights
the Guide to Community Preventive Services (Community
Guide), which recommends effective policies to prevent binge
“It is alarming to see
that binge drinking is so common among women and girls, and
that women and girls are drinking so much when they do,”
said Robert Brewer, M.D., M.S.P.H., of the Alcohol Program
“The good news is that the same scientifically
proven strategies for communities and clinical settings that
we know can prevent binge drinking in the overall population
can also work to prevent binge drinking among women and
For more information
about binge drinking, visit CDC’s Alcohol and Public Health
web site at
http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol. Individuals who are
concerned about their own or someone else's binge drinking
can call 1-800-662-HELP to receive assistance from the
national Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Routing
For state-specific estimates of alcohol-related
deaths and years of potential life lost by condition, age
and gender, visit the Alcohol-Related Disease Impact online
application at http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/DACH_ARDI/Default/Default.aspx.
is a CDC report that appears on the first Tuesday of the
month as part of the CDC journal
Morbidity and Mortality
Weekly Report, or MMWR. The report provides the
latest data and information on key health indicators. These
are cancer prevention, obesity, tobacco use, motor vehicle
passenger safety, prescription drug overdose, HIV/AIDS,
alcohol use, health care–associated infections,
cardiovascular health, teen pregnancy, food safety and viral
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