HealthDay News — Binge drinking, a risk factor for many health and social issues, is relatively common among women and girls in the United States, and those who binge drink tend to do so often, according to the CDC.

Nearly 14 million American women binge drink, data from the 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System show, accounting for 12.5% of adult women.Those binge drink tend to do so about three times per month and consume an average of 5.7 alcoholic drinks on one occasion, Dafna Kanny, PhD, of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues reported in Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report.

Kanny and colleagues analyzed the prevalence, frequency, and intensity of binge drinking — described as four or more drinks in one setting — among 278,000 women U.S. women aged 18 years or older and 7,500 high school-aged girls.

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They found that binge drinking is most common in those aged 18 to 34 years, and among those living in households with annual incomes of $75,000 or more.

Among high school-aged girls, 19.8% reported ever binge drinking. Those that acknowledged current use of alcohol (37.9%) reported higher rates of binge drinking (54.6%). 

Binge drinking poses greater health risks for woman than men, as women achieve higher concentrations of blood alcohol at the same consumption level, and it increases the risk for unintended pregnancy.

“Women with unintended pregnancies tend to have delayed pregnancy recognition, increasing the risk for alcohol-exposed pregnancy and adverse reproductive health outcomes, such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder,” the researchers wrote.

They added that prevention efforts for binge drinking lag behind those for other leading health risks.

“More widespread implementation of evidence-based interventions, such as those recommended by the Guide to Community Preventive Services and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, would be expected to reduce the frequency and intensity, and ultimately the prevalence of binge drinking among women and girls, and the harms related to it,” they wrote.


  1. Kanny D, et al “Vital Signs: Binge drinking among women and high school girls — United States, 2011” MMWR 2013; 62.