Half of high-school girls who drink binge drink

January 10, 2013

Sobering statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that in 2011, 54.6% of high-school girls who consumed alcohol reported binge drinking. The prevalence was highest for high-school seniors: 61.7% of 12th-grade girls who used alcohol reported binging.

Sobering statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that in 2011, 54.6% of high-school girls who consumed alcohol reported binge drinking. The prevalence was highest for high-school seniors: 61.7% of 12th-grade girls who used alcohol reported binging.

Data on prevalence of alcohol use among 7,500 girls in grades 9 through 12 were collected from the 2011 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey and for 278,000 women aged 18 years and older from the 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. The CDC defines binge drinking for women as having 4 or more drinks of alcohol in 1 sitting on at least 1 day during the 30 days before the survey.

Researchers found that prevalence of binge drinking among adult women was 12.5% and was highest for women aged 18 to 24 years (24%). Among high school girls, prevalence of binge drinking was 19.8% and increased by grade, with 12th-grade girls twice as likely (27%) to binge drink as 9th graders (13%).

Women metabolize alcohol differently and reach higher blood alcohol levels compared with men when consuming the same amount of alcohol, even after accounting for body size, food consumption, and other factors. Binge drinking increases a woman’s risk for unintended pregnancy and adverse outcomes such as miscarriage or birth defects, as well as for acquiring HIV, sexually transmitted infections, heart disease, and breast cancer.

Underaged girls are “overexposed” to the marketing of flavored alcohol beverages, the researchers say, increasing the risk that girls will begin drinking alcohol at a young age and consume more alcohol when they drink.