Page last updated: Tuesday, November 18, 2008
60% of U.S. Adults Drink, 23% Smoke, 25% Teetotal
According to the survey from the National Center for Health Statistics, 60 percent of U.S. adults drink alcohol and up to 20 percent are binge drinkers, according to a new comprehensive report of American habits and vices. About 23 percent are smokers, and half have never touched a cigarette.

22 percent were obese, meaning they are 20 percent or more overweight, and an additional 35 percent were overweight in the 1999-2000 study period.

About 40 percent were in a healthy weight range and despite fears about media images contributing to unhealthy expectations about thinness, just two percent were underweight, the report found.

The NCHS, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the fact sheet released is the most detailed look yet at the health habits of Americans.

It said six in 10 U.S. adults were current drinkers in 1999-2001 and about 25 percent said they were lifetime abstainers. “Nearly one-third of adults were classified as light drinkers (3 or fewer drinks per week),” the NCHS said in a statement. Just 5 percent were classified as heavier drinkers, which for a woman means seven or more drinks per week and 14 a week for men, with 20 percent saying they sometimes drank five or more drinks a day.

The study found that men and women are equally likely to be obese, and men were more likely than women to be physically active in their leisure time.

In general, Americans of Asian descent were less likely to have succumbed to unhealthy behaviours such as drinking too much, smoking or to be overweight, the report found.

For more information about the National Health Interview Survey visit the CDC/NCHS Web site.

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