Page last updated: May 12, 2013
CDC report: Binge drinking is under-recognised in women and girls

The first Vital Signs health indicators report of 2013 from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention finds that binge drinking is too often not recognised as a women’s health problem. The report found that nearly 14 million U.S. women binge drink about three times a month, and consume an average of six drinks per binge. CDC researchers determined the rate of binge drinking among U.S. women and girls by looking at the drinking behaviour of approximately 278,000 U.S. women aged 18 and older for the past 30 days through data collected from the 2011 Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System, and for approximately 7,500 U.S. high school girls from the 2011 National Youth Risk Behaviour Survey.

For women and girls, binge drinking is defined as consuming four or more drinks (14g) on one occasion. Drinking excessively, including binge drinking, is estimated to cause about 23,000 deaths among women and girls in the United States each year. About 1 in 8 women and 1 in 5 high school girls report binge drinking, with the practice most common among women ages 8-34, high school girls, whites, Hispanics and women with household incomes of $75,000 or more. Half of all high school girls who drink alcohol report binge drinking.

According to the CDC, binge drinking puts women at increased risk for many health problems, including breast cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, heart disease and unintended pregnancy. Pregnant women who binge drink expose their babies to high levels of alcohol, which can result in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and sudden infant death syndrome.

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