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CDC: Binge Drinking A Bigger Problem Than Previously Thought

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DETROIT (WWJ) - More than 38 million U.S. adults binge drink an average of four times a month and the most drinks they consume on average is eight, according to a new Vital Signs report form the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While binge drinking is more common among young adults ages 18–34, of those age 65 and older who report binge drinking, they do so more often – an average of five to six times a month.

Binge drinking is more common among those with household incomes of $75,000 or more, but the largest number of drinks consumed per occasion is significantly higher among binge drinkers with household incomes of less than $25,000 – an average of eight to nine drinks, the report said.

According to the CDC, estimates of adults in Michigan who binge drink range from 16.8 percent to 18.6 percent. Those Michigan adults who do binge, typically consume between 6 and 7.1 drinks per occasion.

Binge drinking is defined as consuming four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men on an occasion. Binge drinkers also put themselves and others at risk for many health and social problems, including car crashes, other unintentional injuries, violence, liver disease, certain cancers, heart disease, sexually transmitted diseases, and both unintended and alcohol–exposed pregnancies.

Drinking too much, including binge drinking, causes more than 80,000 deaths in the United States each year, making it the third leading preventable cause of death, and was responsible for more than $223.5 billion in economic costs in 2006. Over half of these deaths result from injuries that disproportionately involve young people.

Adult binge drinking is most common in the Midwest, New England, the District of Columbia, Alaska and Hawaii, the report said. However, binge drinkers consume more drinks in the southern part of the Mountain states (Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah), the Midwest, and some states where binge drinking is less common – including Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina.

CDC scientists analyzed data on self–reports of binge drinking within the past 30 days for about 458,000 U.S. adults aged 18 years and older. The data were in the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. The data used in this study included about 36,000 cell phone respondents.

For more information about binge drinking, visit the CDC’s Alcohol and Public Health website at www.cdc.gov.

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