A recent study has found a conundrum that spells bad news for women: women are drinking more and men are drinking less.
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The National Institute of Health released a statement yesterday about the predicament. NIAAA Director George F. Koob explained, “This study confirms what other recent reports have suggested about changing patterns of alcohol use by men and women in the U.S.” As a general rule, men outpace women in terms of how often and how much they drink.
Research was led by Aaron White at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. It looked at the drinking habits of women and men in American for a decade. The findings were published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
According to the paper, the following data was used:
Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health were used to assess the prevalence and trends for females and males aged 12+ in lifetime abstinence, age of onset, current drinking, binge drinking, drinking and driving, reaching DSM-IV criteria for an alcohol use disorder, combining alcohol with other drugs such as marijuana, and other variables. Of particular interest was whether differences between females and males narrowed during the decade under study.
They then reported what they found:
The percentage of people who drank alcohol in the previous 30 days increased for females from 44.9 percent to 48.3 percent, but decreased for males from 57.4 percent to 56.1 percent between 2002 and 2012. Over that time, the average number of drinking days in the past month also increased for females, from 6.8 to 7.3 days, but decreased slightly for males, from 9.9 to 9.5 days.
The NIH said that binge drinking is still a problem in the college aged young adult sector, but that drinking in men decreased, which means that women increased to make up the difference.
There is a slight difference that looks good for women: More young, male adults are boozing when they get high than young, female adults. “The prevalence of combining alcohol with marijuana during the last drinking occasion among 18 to 25 year old male drinkers increased from 15 percent to 19 percent… while the prevalence of combining alcohol with marijuana during the last drinking occasion among 18 to 25 year old female drinkers remained steady at about 10 percent,” White stated.
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Men were also more likely to be harmed while they were drinking, including in accidents.