CDC Finds Adults Consume 17 Billion Binge Drinks per Year in New Study

In a first-of-its-kind study, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that U.S. adults consumed more than 17 billion binge drinks in 2015. CDC researchers found that 1 in 6, or 37 million, U.S. adults drink about once a week, consuming an average of seven drinks per binge. Binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more drinks for men or four or more drinks for women within approximately two hours.

The CDC analyzed data on self-reported binge drinking from the past 30 days from CDC’s 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). In conducting the study, the CDC also found that more than half of binge drinks consumed each year were by adults ages 35 and older, 4 in 5 total binge drinks were consumed by men, and binge drinkers with lower household incomes and lower educational levels consumed substantially more binge drinks per year than those with higher incomes and educational levels.

In its report, the CDC highlights dangers of binge drinking, including increased risks of cancer, heart disease and liver failure, dangerous driving, violent behavior, and risky sexual behavior. Binge drinking is responsible for more than half of the 88,000 alcohol-attributable deaths and three-quarters of the $249 billion in economic costs associated with excessive drinking. The full CDC report is available here in the latest edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.