Americans love getting wasted, study finds
Americans are more likely than ever to be heavy drinkers and binge drinkers, says a new study of county-based drinking patterns in the United States from 2002 to 2012. The study, published in American Journal of Public Health, attributed much of the trend to skyrocketing rates of alcohol consumption among women.
Meanwhile, the percentage of people who drink has remained relatively unchanged over time.
In 2012, 8.2% of all Americans were considered heavy drinkers and 18.3% were binge drinkers, reports Science Daily. In terms of binge drinking, Madison County, Idaho clocked the lowest levels (5.9%) while Menominee, Wisconsin had the highest (36%). For heavy drinking, Hancock County, Tennessee recorded the smallest proportion (2.4%) and Esmeralda County, Nevada had the largest (22.4%). Nationwide, binge drinking has increased 8.9% since 2005.
The CDC defines binge drinking as consuming four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men on a single occasion in the past month. Heavy drinking is defined as exceeding an average of one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men over the past month.
"Binge drinking is commonly associated with a higher risk for serious bodily harm, such as injuries, alcohol poisoning and acute organ damage. Heavy drinking is considered a risk factor for longer-term conditions, such as liver cirrhosis and cardiovascular disease," reports Science Daily.