Binge Drinking Data Back Need for Interventions

Article excerpt

Nearly one-quarter of high school students reported binge drinking in 2009, as did more than 25% of adults aged 18-34 years.

These findings, published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's report, are essentially unchanged from similar surveys conducted in 1993, wrote the authors, and indicate a need for community-specific, evidence-based interventions (MMWR 2010;59:1-6).

"Although most binge drinkers are not alcohol dependent or alcoholics, they often engage in this high-risk behavior without realizing the health and social problems of their drinking. States and communities need to consider further strategies to create an environment that discourages binge drinking," said Dr. Robert Brewer in a written statement. Dr. Brewer is the alcohol program leader at CDC and one of the authors of the report.

The CDC analyzed data from two sources. The first was the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, conducted among adults aged 18 years and older on both landline and cellular telephones. The second was the 2009 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, filled out anonymously by students while in school.

The adult survey defined binge drinking as the consumption of 4 or more alcoholic drinks per occasion for women and 5 or more drinks per occasion for men during the preceding 30 days. Among the students, binge drinking was 5 or more drinks within "a couple of hours" in the preceding 30 days.

Among the landline respondents, the overall prevalence of binge drinking among adults in 2009 was 15.2% (compared to 14.2% in 1993), with more men reporting binge drinking than women (20.7% versus 10.0%, respectively). Among respondents aged 18-24, prevalence was 25.6%; among those aged 25-34, it fell slightly to 22.5%, and continued to decline with age.

Among the cellular respondents, the prevalence of binge drinking was slightly higher: 20.6% overall, with 26.5% for men and 14.5% for women. Among the 18- to 24-year age group, 35.4% reported binge drinking. As with the landline respondents, decline in prevalence continued with increase in age to 30.8% among 25-to 34-year-olds, and a further steady decline afterward. …