CDC: 1 in 5 high school girls binge drink

ATLANTA -- Millions of high school-aged girls and women binge drink, behavior that can have disastrous results, including long-term health effects, the CDC warns in a report released Tuesday.

For females, binge drinking means consuming four or more drinks in one sitting. For males, it's five or more drinks.

Previous reports have focused on higher rates of binge drinking among males, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in its report (click here for the full CDC report), aims to raise awareness of binge drinking among women as a serious problem that's held steady for more than a decade.

"Although binge drinking is more of a problem among men and boys, binge drinking is an important and under-recognized women's health issue," said Dr. Thomas Frieden, CDC director.

Of the estimated 23,000 annual deaths attributed to excessive alcohol use among women and girls, binge drinking was responsible for more than half of those deaths, said Frieden.

In 2011, when the data was collected, more than 12.5% of U.S. adult women engaged in binge drinking an average of three times per month, drinking an average of six drinks. That's nearly 14 million women. One in eight women binge drink, according to the report.

One in 5 high school girls binge drink, which is nearly as high as the binge drinking rates among high school boys.

While binge-drinking rates have fallen among boys over the past 10 years, "binge-drinking rates among girls really haven't changed much over a 15-plus-year period," said Dr. Robert Brewer, of the alcohol program division of the CDC's national Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

The greatest frequency of binge drinking is found among women aged 18-34 and high-school-age girls. About 62% of high school senior girls reported binge drinking, according to Frieden.

-- CNN

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