A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Americans' drinking habits reported that people who identify as binge drinkers are consuming quite a bit of alcohol, CBS News reported Friday.
Binge drinking is defined as drinking five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women within a two-hour period. According to the report, one in six adults in the U.S. admitted to binge drinking once a week on average, consuming an average of seven drinks.
That totals 17.5 billion binge drinks in 2015, which breaks down to about 470 drinks for each of the 37.4 million people who reported binge drinking.
"This study shows that binge drinkers are consuming a huge number of drinks per year, greatly increasing their chances of harming themselves and others," said Dr. Robert Brewer in a statement, lead researcher in the CDC's alcohol program and co-author of the study.
"The findings also show the importance of taking a comprehensive approach to prevent binge drinking, focusing on reducing both the number of times people binge drink and the amount they drink when they binge," he added.
When broken down, the study concluded:
- Binge drinking was more common in younger adults, age 18-34, but more than half of the binge drinks consumed were by adults age 35 and older.
- Binge drinking was more common in men than women, as four out of five binge drinks were consumed by men.
- Binge drinkers consumed the most alcohol in Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky and Hawaii. Areas at the other end of the spectrum with the least alcohol consumption were Washington, D.C., New Jersey, New York and Washington state.
- Binge drinking was more common in low-income households and among people with lower educational levels.
The report was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The CDC attributes half of the 88,000 deaths that take place annually due to drinking alcohol were a result of binge drinking. Excessive drinking can lead to health problems including cancer, heart disease and liver failure.
Public health officials recommend moderately drinking alcohol, defined as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks for men, CBS News reported.
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