Binge Drinking Among Women Raises Risk for Breast Cancer, Heart Disease

Breast cancer. Heart disease. Sexually transmitted diseases.

Nearly 14 million women may be putting themselves at risk for these diseases by drinking too much alcohol. According to a new federal report, one in eight women report binge drinking, which is considered consuming four or more drinks on one occasion. Health officials say women who drink should not consume more than one drink per day.

The problem is even worse for younger females. The report, compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that one in five high school girls engage in binge drinking. It was most common among women between the ages of 18 and 35 and those in high school. Indeed, half of all high school girls surveyed who admit to drinking, also say they binge drink.

“It is alarming to see that binge drinking is so common among women and girls, and that women and girls are drinking so much when they do,” said Dr. Robert Brewer, of the Alcohol Program at CDC, in a news release. “The good news is that the same scientifically proven strategies for communities and clinical settings that we know can prevent binge drinking in the overall population can also work to prevent binge drinking among women and girls.”

For the report, scientists studied the drinking behavior of about 278,000 adult women nationwide for a 30-day period. Additionally, they collected data from roughly 7,500 high school girls from the 2011 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

Binge drinking causes about 23,000 deaths among women and girls in the United States each year.

“Binge drinking causes many health problems, and there are proven ways to prevent excessive drinking,” said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. “Effective community measures can support women and girls in making wise choices about whether to drink or how much to drink if they do.”

Source: CDC news release

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