Is Alcoholism the Norm?

Nutrition Health Review, Spring 2011 | Go to article overview

Is Alcoholism the Norm?


More people are drinking today than they were 20 years ago, according to an analysis of national alcohol consumption patterns. Gathered from more than 85,000 respondents, the data suggest that a variety of factors, including social, economic and ethnic influences and pressures, are involved in the increase.

Dr. Raul Caetano, Dean of the University of Texas Southwestern School of Health Professions, explains: "The reasons for the uptick vary and may involve complex sociodemographic changes in the population, but the findings are clear: More people are consuming alcohol now than in the early 1990s."

Although more Caucasians, Hispanics, and African-Americans reported drinking between 1992 and 2002, only Caucasian women consumed more drinks per person. The number of drinks that African-Americans and Hispanics consumed were level over the 10-year period.

In addition to an increase in the number of both male and female drinkers within all three ethnic groups, among women, Caucasians were more likely than Hispanics or African-Americans to consume five or more drinks a day or drink to intoxication. An increase in drinking five or more drinks a day was also detected among the heavier drinkers in the population, suggesting a potential polarization of drinking practices. …

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