One-quarter of American teens and young adults engage in binge drinking, new statistics published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicate, HealthDay News reported Oct. 5.
Although binge drinking was also widespread among adults, the CDC said the findings for young people are particularly troubling, since their brains may be more susceptible to damage from heavy drinking than those of older drinkers.
Among all alcohol consumers, one out of three adults and two out of three high school students reported binge drinking in the past month. The practice was most common in men, adults aged 18 to 34, and people with household incomes of $75,000 or more.
Approximately 79,000 deaths in the U.S. each year are attributable to alcohol, and of these, roughly half are related to binge drinking. Bingeing increases the risk of other health problems as well, including unplanned pregnancy, violence, STD transmission, and car crashes.
The rate of binge drinking has not declined in the U.S. in over 15 years.
"Ninety percent of the alcohol consumed by high school students is consumed in the course of binge drinking, and more than half of the alcohol consumed by adults is consumed in the course of binge drinking," said Thomas R. Frieden, MD, director of the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
"If excessive alcohol consumption every day is problem drinking, what is the occasional stint of up to five drinks at one sitting?" said David L. Katz, MD, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University. "The answer for many might be 'a party,' and that's just what makes binge drinking so dangerous."
More of the recent findings are available online at the CDC information portal, Vital Signs.