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CDC: 1 in 5 high school girls binge drink

(CNN) -- Millions of high school-aged girls and women binge drink, behavior that can have disastrous results including long-term health effects, the CDC warns in a report released Tuesday.

For females, binge drinking means consuming four or more drinks in one sitting. For males, it's five or more drinks.

Previous reports have focused on higher rates of binge drinking among males, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in its report, aims to raise awareness of binge drinking among women as a serious problem that's held steady for more than a decade.

"Although binge drinking is more of a problem among men and boys, binge drinking is an important and under-recognized women's health issue," said Dr. Thomas Frieden, CDC director.

Of the estimated 23,000 annual deaths attributed to excessive alcohol use among women and girls, binge drinking was responsible for more than half of those deaths, said Frieden.

Binge drinking is the most common and most dangerous pattern of excess drinking, he said.

Women process alcohol differently than men and tend to be smaller, meaning they are more susceptible to effects of drinking, including heart disease, cancer, stroke and liver disease, to name a few. Other unintended consequences might include pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, the report said.

To describe the prevalence of binge drinking, the CDC analyzed data from its 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an annual telephone survey, and the national 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, an anonymous questionnaire completed by high school students nationwide.

While most binge drinkers are not alcohol-dependent, it can also lead to dependence.

About 50% of all the alcohol consumed by adults, and about 90% of all the alcohol consumed by young people is consumed during a binge drinking session, according to Frieden.

In 2011, when the data was collected, more than 12.5% of U.S. adult women engaged in binge drinking an average of three times per month, drinking an average of six drinks. That's nearly 14 million women. One in 8 women binge drink, according to the report.

One in 5 high school girls binge drink, which is nearly as high as the binge drinking rates among high school boys.

While binge-drinking rates have fallen among boys over the past 10 years, "binge-drinking rates among girls really haven't changed much over a 15-plus-year period," said Dr. Robert Brewer, of the alcohol program division of the CDC's national Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

The greatest frequency of binge drinking is found among women aged 18-34 and high-school-age girls. About 62% of high school senior girls reported binge drinking, according to Frieden.

So what can be done? Effective strategies combating binge drinking would include health care providers speaking to women and girls about their drinking habits, Frieden said.

Medical caregivers should encourage less consumption for girls and women if they suspect they are consuming too much.

Parents need to play a role in preventing their children from drinking.

Pregnant women and underage youth should not drink at all, Frieden stressed.

U.S. dietary guidelines recommend drinking in moderation -- up to one drink daily for women and up to two for men.

"What we really want to do is encourage people to follow those guidelines for drinking," said Dr. Robert Brewer, of the alcohol program division of the CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

SOURCE: http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/08/health/women-binge-drinking/index.html?hpt=us_c2
3 Responses
1310633 tn?1430227691
"Parents need to play a role in preventing their children from drinking..."

What's that you say?

PARENTS should take responsibility for something that has to do with their children???

Why isn't the GOVERNMENT doing something about this?!?

I think there should a government funded initiative, to curb incidence of this.

We'll call it... "Obamabstinence".

That said, I'm pretty sure you should put ME in charge of the program, and it should receive $500 Billion worth of funding. Just give me the money, and I'll make sure the program happens.

And don't ask me for paperwork, as to WHERE the money is going, and HOW the money's going to be spent.

Blank-check please....
Avatar universal
That few, eh?
377493 tn?1356505749

I do think the primary responsibility comes from parents.  I remember kids I was in high school with whose parents allowed them to have drinking parties quite young.  Maybe this was in the article and I missed it, but a really important point in all this is also the fact that the younger a brain is exposed to alcohol, the higher the likelyhood of alcoholism.  Yep, parents need to work with their children to help them understand all of the dangers.

That said, it wouldn't be a bad thing to see more public education on this issue.  Ads and warnings, that sort of thing.  I mean, it's a more important issue then a lot of the things the gov't spends money on right? And I always worry about the children who just don't have involved parents as well.  So public health messages and perhaps even some sort of education in the school system is a good thing in my opinion.
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