U.S. Adults Have 17 Billion Binge Drinks a Year: CDC

Atlanta, GA–U.S. adults consumed more than 17 billion binge drinks in 2015, or about 470 binge drinks per binge drinker, according to a first-of-its-kind study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study appears in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Binge drinkers are consuming a huge number of drinks per year (image credit: CDC)

CDC researchers found that 1 in 6, or 37 million, adults binge drink about once a week, consuming an average of seven drinks per binge. Binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more drinks for men, or four or more drinks for women, in about two hours.

While the prevalence of binge drinking was more common among young adults ages 18-34 years, more than half of the binge drinks consumed each year were by adults ages 35 years and older.

About 4 in 5 total binge drinks were consumed by men.

Binge drinkers with lower household incomes (less than $25,000 a year) and lower educational levels (less than high school) consumed substantially more binge drinks per year than those with higher incomes and educational levels.

Binge drinkers consumed the most alcohol in Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Hawaii, and the least in Washington, DC; New Jersey, New York, and Washington State.

Binge drinking can result in dangerous driving, risky sexual behavior, and violent behavior. Over time, binge drinking also increases the risk of serious health problems such as cancer, heart disease, and liver failure. Annually, binge drinking is responsible for more than half of the 88,000 alcohol-attributable deaths and three-quarters of the $249 billion in economic costs associated with excessive drinking in the United States.

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