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Alcohol Consumption Increasing among Americans

Posted in Alcohol Abuse

A new study found that alcohol consumption has increased in the United States, possibly due to social, economic, and ethnic influences. Researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Center examined national alcohol consumption patterns among those who participated in the National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Study from 1991-1992 and the National Epidemiological Study on Alcohol and Related Conditions from 2001-2002. About 43,000 people participated in each survey.

Drinking was defined as having at least 12 alcoholic drinks within the past year. The number of white, Hispanic, and black individuals who drank increased during the ten-year period. White women were more likely to binge drink (or have five or more drinks in a day) or drink to intoxication than Hispanic or black women.

Binge drinking also increased among heavier drinkers, suggesting polarization of drinking behaviors.

Men younger than 60 who didn’t have a college degree were more likely to have more alcoholic drinks per month. Unmarried and unemployed men were more likely to get drunk more than once a month.

Lead author Dr. Raul Caetano, dean of the UT Southwestern School of Health Professions, said that this study suggests that public health policies such as restricting alcohol advertising, regulating beverages with high alcohol content, increasing alcohol taxes, and making treatment and interventions more accessible may be needed to decrease harmful drinking among Americans.

Source: Health Day, More Americans Drinking More Alcohol, October 6, 2010