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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2009 Apr 3;58(12):301-4.

Sociodemographic differences in binge drinking among adults--14 States, 2004.


Binge drinking, defined in this study as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks on one occasion, was responsible for 43,731 (54.9%) of the estimated 79,646 alcohol-attributable deaths each year in the United States during 2001--2005. Healthy People 2010 calls for reducing the prevalence of binge drinking among adults from the 16.6% baseline in 1998 to 6.0%. An overarching goal of Healthy People is to eliminate health disparities among different segments of the population. To assess binge drinking by sex, age group, race/ethnicity, education level, and income level, CDC analyzed data from an optional module of the 2004 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey, the most recent data available on binge drinking prevalence, frequency, and intensity (i.e., the number of drinks consumed per binge episode). This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicated that the prevalence of binge drinking was more common among men (24.3%), persons aged 18--24 years (27.4%) and 2534 years (24.4%), whites (17.5%), and persons with household incomes >/=$50,000 (17.4%). However, after adjusting for sex and age, the highest average number of binge drinking episodes during the preceding 30 days was reported by binge drinkers whose household income was <$25,000. (4.9), and the highest average number of drinks per binge episode was reported by non-Hispanic blacks (8.4) and Hispanics (8.1). These findings underscore the need to implement effective population-based prevention strategies (e.g., increasing alcohol excise taxes) and develop effective interventions targeted at groups at higher risk.

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