Alcohol use among women driving up binge drinking rates
Binge drinking rates are on the rise in the U.S. and, according to a new study at the University of Washington, more alcohol consumption by American women is a big factor.
The analysis found that heavy drinking has risen by 17.2 percent since 2005 and binge drinking has increased by 8.9 percent over the same period. And binge drinking among women has escalated much more among women than men between 2005 and 2012--rising by 17.5 percent among women, compared to 4.9 percent among men.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heavy drinking is characterized by averaging one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men over the past month, while binge drinking is defined as the consumption of four drinks or more for women in a single occasion, or five drinks or more for men.
In 2012, 8.2 percent of Americans were defined as heavy drinkers and 18.3 percent had engaged in binge drinking. The lowest levels of binge drinking (5.9 percent of residents) were found in Madison County, Idaho, and the highest level (36 percent) were in Menominee County in Wisconsin.
The study was the first to analyze drinking habits at the county level and it often found significant disparities in alcohol consumption from county to county within one state.