Dear America, We Have a Drinking Problem.
Eighty-eight thousand deaths a year? One in 10? Why are so many U.S. adults drinking themselves to death? A shocking new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that from 2006 to 2010, 1 in 10 adults between the ages of 20 and 64 died from excessive alcohol use.
Included in that number are people who died from diseases related to long-term drinking, including liver disease, heart disease and breast cancer. The total deaths also included excessive drinking in the short term, which caused death due to alcohol poisoning, car accidents and violence.
Excessive drinking in women is described as 4 or more drinks in a single day or 8 or more a week. For men, it’s 5 or more in a single day or 15 or more a week.
If you’re wondering how one drink is measured, it’s:
- 12 ounces of 5% beer
- 8 ounces of 7% malt liquor
- 5 ounces of 12% wine
- 1.5 ounces of 40% (80-proof) distilled spirits or liquor
Other key findings from the CDC:
- lives were shortened by about 30 years
- almost 70 percent of the alcohol-related deaths involved men
- the highest rate occurred in New Mexico, the lowest in New Jersey
Perhaps the most startling finding is that 1 in 6 adults in the United States binge drink — that’s 38 million people. And they binge 4 times a month. The stereotypical binge drinker is the young college student, but it turns out that 70% of binge drinkers are over age 26, according to the CDC.
There’s no single reason why people drink to excess or binge, but these numbers should certainly serve as a sobering wake up call. America, we have a problem.
“Excessive alcohol use is a leading cause of preventable death that kills many Americans in the prime of their lives,” said Ursula E. Bauer, Ph.D., M.P.H., in a press release. The director of CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion went on to say, “We need to redouble our efforts to implement scientifically proven public health approaches to reduce this tragic loss of life and the huge economic costs that result.”
CDC researchers used data from the Alcohol-Related Disease Impact (ARDI) application for 2006-2010.
Post photo: Piotr Marcinski, photographer | iStock Collection | Thinkstock