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    « World Bank Turns A Blind Eye As It's $3 Billion Aid To Ethiopia Is Abused | Main | China's One Child Policy: Forcing People To Abort Almost Full Term Babies »
    Thursday
    Oct212010

    CDC Report: More Than 1 In 4 American High School Students & Young Adults Binge Drink

    Earlier this month CDC released a new report which suggests that the levels of binge drinking in US have not declined in the last 15 years. Findings are based on surveys conducted by the CDC in which about 412,000 young adults (aged 18-34) and almost 16,000 high school students were asked about their alcohol intake within the past 30 days. More than one in four high school students and young adults reported having binged on alcohol within the last 30 days. CDC suspects that the actual number of binge drinkers is likely to be more than what this survey indicates, based on analysis of alcohol sale figures.  

    Binge Drinking By Age In US, Image Source:CDC

    Overall each year, more than 33 million adults binge drink in America. Binge drinking is defined as consuming four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men over a short period of time, usually within a couple of hours. The CDC report found that men (21%) are more than twice as likely to binge drink as women (10%). 

    Dr. Robert Brewer, alcohol program leader at CDC and one of the authors of the report said, "Alarmingly, almost 1 in 3 adults and 2 in 3 high school students who drink alcohol also binge drink, which usually leads to intoxication. Although most binge drinkers are not alcohol-dependent or alcoholics, they often engage in this high risk behavior without realizing the health and social problems of their drinking. States and communities need to consider further strategies to create an environment that discourages binge drinking."

    CDC says: "Binge drinking is a dangerous behavior for all ages. Drinking too much, including binge drinking, causes more than 79,000 deaths in the US each year and is a leading preventable cause of death. Binge drinkers also put themselves and others at risk of car crashes, violence, the risk of HIV transmission and sexually transmitted diseases, and unplanned pregnancy. Over time, drinking too much can lead to liver disease, certain cancers, heart disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases. Binge drinking can also cause harm to a developing fetus, such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, if a woman drinks while pregnant."

     Here're some salient points from the CDC report: 

    • Binge drinking happens more than 4 million times a day in the US among adults.
    • Binge drinking is most common among men, adults in the 18-34 age range, and people with household incomes of $75,000 or more. The drinking behavior of adults affects the drinking behavior of youth by the example it sets. 
    • Prevalence varies from state to state (see map below). Binge drinking is most common in the Midwest, North Central Plains, lower New England, Delaware, Alaska, Nevada, and the District of Columbia. Comparing 2009 to 1993, binge drinking among adults increased significantly in 20 states, stayed the same in 29 states, and declined significantly in only 2 states. 

    Prevalence of Binge Drinking Among Adults, 2009 — Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, US.

    Image Source:CDC

    Excessive alcohol use is the third leading preventable cause of death in the US. Alcohol use in teenagers continues to be widely prevalent and is almost a socially sanctioned behavior. Every day an estimated, (on average) 11,318 youth (12 to 20 years of age) try alcohol for the first time in this country. 

    According to the NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) : "Alcohol is the drug of choice for America's youth. By age 15, half of the nation's children and adolescents will have had an entire drink. Among 15-year-olds who drink, one study shows that, on average, they binge drink (five drinks or more per session) twice a month. According a federally funded survey conducted by the University of Michigan, 8 percent of 8th graders (13 years old) have binged in the past two weeks, and 18 percent of 10th graders (15 years old) have done so.

    There is a definite connection between drinking at a young age and later alcohol problems. According to a study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 40 percent of adults who say they began drinking before age 14 show signs of alcohol dependency or alcoholism.  Just 10 percent of adults who began drinking later (after age 20) show such signs. In addition to the age that young people begin drinking, the amount they drink and the number of children who drink are also worrisome. Youths between the ages of 12 and 20 who consume alcohol, drink on average about five drinks per occasion about six times a month." 

    The CDC recommends ( as do most experts) that the problem be tackled on a community level with the co-operative participation of various agencies, rather than address it solely on an individual level.

    ~ Gauri 

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