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Binge Drinking High in the Midwest

Posted in Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is a dangerous activity, often resulting in negative consequences that can be harmful and even deadly. Those who binge drink are at a high risk for injury and unsafe sexual behavior. While this choice is often identified with college students and young adults, there may be additional patterns in binge drinking in addition to factors like age and gender.

A new report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows how binge drinking is broken down by states. On the map used by the CDC, it is easy to identify a dark block of states in the middle of the country that are participating in binge drinking at a high rate.

The study reports that in Illinois and pushing across the Midwest to Montana, there are several states that show binge drinking to be between the rates of 18.7 percent and 25.6 percent of the population. The highest rate was in Wisconsin, with 25.6 percent of residents participating in binge drinking.

Binge drinking is defined as consuming five alcoholic beverages or more in a single occasion for men. Women are considered to be binge drinking when they consume four drinks or more on one occasion.

The report says that approximately 38 million Americans engage in binge drinking, and they do so about four times a month. The binge drinking averages about 8 drinks per binge for those who drink the most on one occasion.

The CDC indicates that those who earn less than $25,000 consume more drinks per occasion, but more affluent drinkers binge more often. Those with an income of $75,000 or more are the most common binge drinkers.

While binge drinking seems to be a widespread activity in the United States, the consequences are widespread as well. There are approximately 80,000 alcohol-related deaths each year. In addition, 54 distinct injuries and diseases are related to alcohol consumption.

Besides the toll on lives, there is also a significant financial toll. In 2006, the cost to the economy was estimated to be $223.5 billion. This number equates to $746 per person, or $1.90 per drink.

The report also shows that the age group with the most binge drinkers is young adults ages 18 to 34 years, but the group with the most binge drinkers was older adults aged 65 or older.

The report also includes several statements about the profile of a binge drinker. The CDC says that most alcohol-impaired drivers have been participating in binge drinking. In addition, contrary to what might be generally expected, those who binge drink do not tend to be alcoholics or alcohol dependent.

The CDC reports that over half of the alcohol consumed by adults is done so while engaging in binge drinking. For youth, more than half the alcohol consumed is while binge drinking.