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Thursday, 10 January 2013
1 IN 5 HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS BINGE DRINK
(CNN) -- Millions of high school-aged girls and women binge drink, behavior that can have disastrous results including long-term health effects.
For females, binge drinking means consuming four or more drinks in one sitting. For males, it's five or more drinks.
Previous reports have focused on higher rates of binge drinking among males, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in its report, aims to raise awareness of binge drinking among women as a serious problem that's held steady for more than a decade. "Although binge drinking is more of a problem among men and boys, binge drinking is an important and under-recognized women's health issue."
Of the estimated 23,000 annual deaths attributed to excessive alcohol use among women and girls, binge drinking was responsible for more than half of those deaths, said Frieden.
Binge drinking is the most common and most dangerous pattern of excess drinking. Women process alcohol differently than men and tend to be smaller, meaning they are more susceptible to effects of drinking, including heart disease, cancer, stroke and liver disease, to name a few. Other unintended consequences might include pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, the report said.
While most binge drinkers are not alcohol-dependent, it can also lead to dependence.
About 50% of all the alcohol consumed by adults, and about 90% of all the alcohol consumed by young people is consumed during a binge drinking session.
One in 5 high school girls binge drink, which is nearly as high as the binge drinking rates among high school boys. While binge-drinking rates have fallen among boys over the past 10 years, "binge-drinking rates among women ... really haven't changed very much over a 15-plus-year period."
The greatest frequency of binge drinking is found among women aged 18-34 and high-school-age girls. About 62% of high school senior girls who drink reported binge drinking.
So what can be done? Effective strategies combating binge drinking would include health care providers speaking to women and girls about their drinking habits. Medical caregivers should encourage less consumption for girls and women if they suspect they are consuming too much. Parents need to play a role in preventing their children from drinking. Pregnant women and underage youth should not drink at all.
U.S. dietary guidelines recommend drinking in moderation -- up to one drink daily for women and up to two for men. "What we really want to do is encourage people to follow those guidelines for drinking."