Page last updated: February 20, 2014

Binge Drinking — United States, 2011

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have published a report that examines sociodemographic disparities in binge drinking nationwide and by state.

CDC analysed 2011 data from the Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System, a state-based, randomdigit– dialed landline and cellular telephone survey of the noninstitutionalised civilian US adults that is conducted monthly in all states, the District of Columbia (DC), and three US territories.

In 2011, the overall prevalence of binge drinking among adults in the 50 states and DC was 18.4%. On average, binge drinkers reported a frequency of 4.1 binge drinking episodes during the preceding 30 days and an intensity of 7.7 drinks per occasion during the past 30 days. Binge drinking prevalence was significantly higher among persons aged 18–24 years (30.0%) and 25–34 years (29.7%) than among those in older age groups. Similarly, the intensity of binge drinking was highest among binge drinkers aged 18–24 and 25–34 (8.9 and 8.2 drinks, respectively); however, the frequency of binge drinking was highest among binge drinkers aged ≥65 years (4.9 episodes). The prevalence of binge drinking was also significantly higher among non-Hispanic whites (21.1%) than among all other race/ ethnicity categories, but the intensity of binge drinking was highest among American Indians/Alaska Natives (8.4 drinks). Those with household incomes ≥$75,000 had significantly higher binge drinking prevalence (22.2%) than those with lower household incomes. In contrast, binge drinkers with household incomes <$25,000 reported the highest frequency (4.3 episodes) and intensity (7.1 drinks) of binge drinking.

Respondents who did not graduate from high school reported significantly lower binge drinking prevalence (16.8%) than those with high school or higher education. However, bingedrinkers with less than high school education had the highest frequency (4.7 episodes) and intensity (7.4 drinks) of binge drinking. Respondents with disabilities also had a significantly lower prevalence of binge drinking (16.9%), but those who binge drank had a higher frequency (4.5 episodes) and intensity (7.2 drinks) of binge drinking, compared with those without disabilities.

Overall, areas with the highest age- and sex-adjusted prevalence of binge drinking were states in the Midwest, as well as DC and Hawaii States with the highest intensity of binge drinking were generally located in the Midwest, and included some states (e.g. Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Utah) that had a lower prevalence of binge drinking.

The report concludes that binge drinking is common among US adults, and persons who binge drink tend to do so frequently and with high intensity. The authors state that despite the array of strategies that have been recommended, efforts are needed to implement them to a point of measurable success toward reducing binge drinking. The frequency and intensity of binge drinking also should be monitored routinely to support the implementation.

 

cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/su6203a13.htm

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