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Friday, May 1, 2015

Binge Drinking and Heavy Drinking On The Rise

Binge drinking in the United States is on the rise, the consumption of five or more alcoholic beverages (male), or four or more (female), over a 2-hour period. The practice of binge drinking has been known to lead to a number of health, social, and public safety issues. While binge drinking most commonly occurs among teenagers and young adults, it is a problem that affects all age groups.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington conducted an evaluation to track trends in alcohol use at the county level, Medical News Today reports. The researchers observed the rates of both binge drinking and heavy drinking throughout the United States.

Since 2005, heavy drinking has risen by 17.2% and binge drinking has increased by 8.9%, but the most interesting find was the rise in drinking among women. Between 2005 and 2012, binge drinking among women rose by 17.5 percent, compared to 4.9 percent among men.

"We are seeing some very alarming trends in alcohol overconsumption, especially among women," says Dr. Ali Mokdad, a lead author of the study and professor at IHME. "We also can't ignore the fact that in many US counties a quarter of the people, or more, are binge drinkers."

The researchers observed big differences in drinking rates from one county to another, according to the article.

"When you can map out what's happening county by county, over time, and for men and women separately, that's also when you can really pinpoint specific health needs and challenges - and then tailor health policies and programs accordingly," said IHME's Director Dr. Christopher Murray.

The researchers point out that the national rates of drinking any alcohol are unchanged, despite the increase in binge drinking and heavy drinking.

The findings were published in the American Journal of Public Health.

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