Beer the Booze of Choice for Binge Drinkers

TUESDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Most adult binge drinkers prefer beer over other types of alcoholic beverages, say U.S. researchers who surveyed more than 14,000 binge drinkers in 18 states.

Binge drinking is typically defined as having five or more drinks in a row.

A team at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 74 percent of binge drinkers said they had drunk beer exclusively or predominately during their most recent binge-drinking episode.

Overall, beer accounted for 67 percent of binge drinks consumed, followed by distilled spirits or liquor, 22 percent; and wine and flavored premixed drinks, 11 percent.

The study also found that beer was the primary choice of binge drinkers who were most likely to cause alcohol-related harm, such as drinking and driving.

The findings are in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Binge drinking is a serious public health issue in the United States, and it's important to understand the beverage preferences of binge drinkers in order to learn more about the problem and take action to control it, said the study's lead author, Dr. Timothy Naimi, a medical epidemiologist with the CDC's Division of Adult and Community Health.

"This study isn't looking at alcohol consumed by people drinking responsibly, or moderately; this is alcohol consumed by people drinking five or more drinks in a sitting, so almost all of them are going to be impaired -- if not overtly intoxicated," Naimi said in a prepared statement. "This is exactly the kind of drinking behavior that leads to so many deaths and secondhand problems that inflict real pain and costs on society, not just the drinker."

More information

The American Medical Association has more about alcohol abuse and alcoholism.

SOURCE: Center for the Advancement of Health, news release, Aug. 7, 2007

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