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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2006 Jun;30(6):1023-30.

The epidemiology of drinking among women of child-bearing age.

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  • 1University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston, Dallas Regional Campus, Houston, Texas 75390, USA.



To estimate the prevalence of drinking, binge drinking (4 or more drinks), and alcohol abuse and dependence and to identify predictors of heavier drinking among women of child-bearing age (18-44 years).


Subjects are part of a national multistage random sample from the 2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC).


Binge drinking, abuse, and dependence are higher in younger (<30 years) pregnant and nonpregnant women. Among pregnant women, binge drinking is highest among Whites; alcohol abuse and dependence rates are relatively low and similar in all racial/ethnic groups. Among nonpregnant women, Whites and mixed race women have the highest rates of binge drinking. Alcohol abuse and dependence are highest among Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders, followed by Native American/Alaska Native women. Women who are White, younger (21-29 years), single, or cohabiting and with a higher income (> 40,000 US dollars) are at a higher risk for heavier drinking.


Drinking and heavier drinking remain at high levels among women of child-bearing age. Prevention efforts must be comprehensive and should target pregnant women who are drinking and those who could become pregnant and are drinking at high-risk levels.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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