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US adults who binge drink are drinking even more, study says

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY LAETITIA PERON A picture taken on August 26, 2011 shows a man holding a glass of beer in a Moscow?s outdoor pub. With a stroke of the presidential pen, beer was recently reclassified as an alcoholic drink in Russia, no longer a foodstuff, and its sales are to be restricted to cut alcohol abuse. But starting January 2013 a new licensing law signed by President Dmitry Medvedev will ban beer sales from 11 pm to 8 am except in bars and cafes. AFP PHOTO/ DMITRY KOSTYUKOV (Photo credit should read DMITRY KOSTYUKOV/AFP/Getty Images)

ATLANTA — Adults in the United States who binge drink are consuming even more alcohol per binging episode, according to a new study published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers analyzed data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System over a six-year period and discovered that the annual number of binge drinks among adults who reported excessive drinking jumped on average from 472 in 2011 to 529 in 2017. That’s a 12% increase.

The CDC defines binge drinking as five drinks or more for men or four or more for women on a single occasion. Binge drinking has serious health risks, according to the CDC, including car accidents, domestic violence, STDs, unintentional pregnancy, stroke, heart and liver disease.

For 2011 to 2017, the number of drinks consumed during a binge increased from 587 to 666 on average for men and from 256 to 290 for women.

The study noted significant increases among people with lower education levels and household incomes. Those without a high school diploma had a spike of 45.8%, from 646 to 942 drinks a year. Binge drinks among people with household incomes less than $25,000 a year rose from 543 drinks a year to 673.

“Socioeconomic disparities in the total number of binge drinks per adult who reported binge drinking also might have contributed to the lower life expectancies reported among persons with lower socioeconomic status in the United States,” the CDC said in the study.

In 2017, the number of binge drinks pear year among adult binge drinkers ranged from 320 per year in Massachusetts to 1,219 in Wyoming. The number of drinks among those who reported binge drinking increased in nine states — Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio and Virginia — while the number of drinks decreased significantly in Massachusetts and West Virginia.

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