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U.S. adults consumed 17.5 billion total binge drinks in 2015

A new study seeks to elucidate disparities in the binge drinking habits of U.S. adults.

To its authors’ knowledge, the study by Dafna Kanny, PhD, and her coinvestigators is the first to assess total binge drinks consumed, in contrast with other studies that have assessed prevalence alone. This total binge drinks consumed measure is calculated by multiplying the intensity of drinking (greatest number of drinks consumed on one binge-drinking occasion) by the frequency of binge drinking.

Using this measure, Dr. Kanny and her coinvestigators found that 17.1% of U.S. adults reported consuming 17.5 billion total binge drinks, or 470 binge drinks per binge drinker in 2015.

In addition to finding disparities among demographic groups, the investigators found disparities between different geographical regions of the country. “The highest annual number of total binge drinks per drinker was reported in Arkansas (841.0), Mississippi (831.8), Kentucky (652.8), and Hawaii (611.7),” they wrote. “Notably, total annual binge drinks per binge drinker and per adult were generally higher in the Mississippi River Valley than in other regions.”

Dr. Kanny and her coinvestigators reported that their findings “do not necessarily represent the official position” of the CDC. They reported no financial disclosures.

SOURCE: Kanny D et al. Am J Prev Med. 2018;54(4):486-96.

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