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College Women Drink More Heavily Than Men, According to Study

College Women Drink More Heavily Than Men, According to Study

It may not be the frat guys drinking all the beer at your party after all

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Men, think about this the next time you try to go shot for shot with the ladies. According to the study “Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research,” conducted by Bettina Hoeppner, college women drink more than the healthy limit for them more times than men do.

This is on top of research already put out by the London School of Economics saying that women who are attending or have attended college for any amount of time are twice as likely to drink heavily than those who chose not to opt for secondary education.

While it looks like college women may be the ones drinking all the beer at the house party, it's not quite that simple. According to FoodBeast, the research was based on the medical limits that men and women should have on drinking — according to the NIAAA, that means men should stick to five drinks a day, and fourteen drinks a week and women can drink four drinks a day and seven drinks a week.

But, before you go throwing away all your champagne flutes and keg taps, know that when the report was put out, the researchers understood how low this number could seem, especially to college students.

“For many at-risk drinkers, the NIAAA drinking guidelines may seem unrealistically low and could potentially result in the loss of credibility,” said the report as quoted on Hack College. “Nevertheless, excluding weekly limits from discussion could be a missed opportunity for lifelong learning.”


Drinking On The Rise In U.S., Especially For Women, Minorities, Older Adults

The number of Americans who drink — and the number of Americans who drink to excess — increased between 2002 and 2013, according to a new study.

More Americans are drinking alcohol, and a growing number of them are drinking to a point that's dangerous or harmful, according to a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry this week.

The study, sponsored by a federal agency for alcohol research, examined how drinking patterns changed between 2002 and 2013, based on in-person surveys of tens of thousands of U.S. adults.

They found that drinking, in general, rose substantially over that time frame. Problem drinking increased by an even greater percentage, and women, racial minorities, older adults and the poor saw particularly large spikes.

The findings suggest "a public health crisis," the researchers say, given the fact that high-risk drinking is linked to a number of diseases and psychiatric problems, as well as violence, crime and crashes.

Since the early '90s, more Americans have been drinking — and a growing number drinking heavily. National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions/JAMA hide caption

"These findings portend increases in many chronic comorbidities in which alcohol use has a substantial role," the researchers write.

Previous research showed steady or declining drinking patterns from the 1970s through the 1990s, the report says. In the '90s, however, alcohol consumption increased — the percentage of people who drank at all increased by nearly half, while high-risk and disordered drinking increased by about 20 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

Between 2002 and 2013, overall drinking increased by 11 percent. By 2013, nearly three-quarters of American adults said they had consumed alcohol within the last year. The increase was in drinking present for all groups, but particularly noteworthy for minorities (for instance, a nearly 30 percent increase for Asians and Pacific Islanders) and people over 65 (a 22.4 percent increase.)

But high-risk and problem drinking increased far more dramatically.

The Salt

Moderate Drinker Or Alcoholic? Many Americans Fall In Between

High-risk drinking, in this study, referred to women drinking four or more drinks in a day, or men drinking five or more drinks in a day, on a weekly basis. High-risk drinking overall rose by 29.9 percent.

Among women, it rose about 58 percent among older adults, it rose 65 percent.

And then there's problem drinking. The study looked at both alcohol abuse, which is drinking to the point where it causes recurrent and significant problems in your life, or alcohol dependence, which is in part the inability to stop drinking.

High-risk drinking and problem drinking showed substantial increases between 2002 and 2013. National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions/JAMA hide caption

Problems with alcohol increased by nearly 50 percent. Among women, alcohol abuse and dependence increased by 83.7 percent. Among black people, it increased by 92.8 percent. Among the poor (earning less than $20,000) it rose by 65.9 percent.

And among older adults, abuse and dependence more than doubled.

The researchers didn't theorize as to why older adults are drinking more than they used to. But they noted that the increase in high-risk and problem drinking among older adults is "unprecedented." And it's worrying, because older adults at are a high risk of death, injury or disease connected to alcohol use — from falls, for instance, or from adverse interactions between drugs and drinking.

As for women, the results show a narrowing of the "gender gap" in drinking disorders, which is consistent with previous research. That is, men are still more likely than women to be problem drinkers, but women are catching up. Changing social norms around female alcohol consumption are part of the equation, the study says — but stress may be another factor.

Meanwhile, the study found a "generally much greater" increase in drinking among minorities than white Americans. The researchers suggest that growing wealth inequality between whites and minorities may have led to "increased stress and demoralization," while educational, employment, housing and health disparities faced by non-white Americans may also lead to increased coping behaviors.


Male and female drinking patterns becoming more alike in the US

In the United States, and throughout the world, men drink more alcohol than women. But a recent analysis by scientists at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, indicates that longstanding differences between men and women in alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms might be narrowing in the United States.

Researchers led by Aaron White, Ph.D., NIAAA’s senior scientific advisor to the director, examined data from yearly national surveys conducted between 2002 and 2012.

“We found that over that period of time, differences in measures such as current drinking, number of drinking days per month, reaching criteria for an alcohol use disorder, and driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year, all narrowed for females and males,” says Dr. White. “Males still consume more alcohol, but the differences between men and women are diminishing.” A report of the study by Dr. White and his colleagues is online in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

“This study confirms what other recent reports have suggested about changing patterns of alcohol use by men and women in the U.S.,” notes NIAAA Director George F. Koob, Ph.D. Dr. Koob adds that the evidence of increasing alcohol use by females is particularly concerning given that women are at greater risk than men of a variety of alcohol-related health effects, including liver inflammation, cardiovascular disease, neurotoxicity and cancer.

Dr. White and his colleagues found that 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.

Binge drinking by 18 to 25 year olds in college did not change during the decade under study. But among 18 to 25 year olds not in college, there was a significant increase in binge drinking among females and a significant decrease among males, effectively narrowing the gender gap in binge drinking in this age group.

Dr. White notes that there was only one measure, for any age group, for which the male-female drinking difference actually became greater during the study period.

“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,” he says, “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.”

The authors say reasons for the converging patterns of alcohol use are unclear and do not appear to be easily explained by recent trends in employment, pregnancy, or marital status, as their analyses controlled for these variables.

Dr. White and his colleagues suggest that additional studies are needed to identify the psychosocial and environmental contributors to these changes and to assess their implications for prevention and treatment efforts.


Male and female drinking patterns becoming more alike in the U.S.

In the United States, and throughout the world, men drink more alcohol than women. But a recent analysis by scientists at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, indicates that longstanding differences between men and women in alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms might be narrowing in the United States.

Researchers led by Aaron White, Ph.D., NIAAA’s senior scientific advisor to the director, examined data from yearly national surveys conducted between 2002 and 2012.

“We found that over that period of time, differences in measures such as current drinking, number of drinking days per month, reaching criteria for an alcohol use disorder, and driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year, all narrowed for females and males,” says Dr. White. “Males still consume more alcohol, but the differences between men and women are diminishing.” A report of the study by Dr. White and his colleagues is online in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

“This study confirms what other recent reports have suggested about changing patterns of alcohol use by men and women in the U.S.,” notes NIAAA Director George F. Koob, Ph.D. Dr. Koob adds that the evidence of increasing alcohol use by females is particularly concerning given that women are at greater risk than men of a variety of alcohol-related health effects, including liver inflammation, cardiovascular disease, neurotoxicity and cancer.

Dr. White and his colleagues found that 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.

Binge drinking by 18 to 25 year olds in college did not change during the decade under study. But among 18 to 25 year olds not in college, there was a significant increase in binge drinking among females and a significant decrease among males, effectively narrowing the gender gap in binge drinking in this age group.

Dr. White notes that there was only one measure, for any age group, for which the male-female drinking difference actually became greater during the study period.

“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,” he says, “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.”

The authors say reasons for the converging patterns of alcohol use are unclear and do not appear to be easily explained by recent trends in employment, pregnancy, or marital status, as their analyses controlled for these variables.

Dr. White and his colleagues suggest that additional studies are needed to identify the psychosocial and environmental contributors to these changes and to assess their implications for prevention and treatment efforts.


Which STEM Degrees do Women Choose?

Not all STEM degrees are created equal. Some STEM degrees tend to pay very well right out of college, while some do not, and some tend to require further study to launch a career.

On average, the STEM degrees that women are more likely to pursue are more science-oriented over engineering, math or computers, and tend to be lower paid.

To illustrate this phenomenon, we isolated the 15 STEM degrees where women represent a greater percentage of graduates than, and ranked them by average early-career salary.

There are only 15 STEM majors where women outnumber men. The early career salary for those majors ranges from $32,000 to $62,000.

Compare that to the most male-dominated STEM degrees (just the top 15 of many), and you can easily see who is more likely to earn a high salary after graduation.

The top 15 most male-dominated STEM majors range in early-career salary from $40,000 to over $90,000.


College Women More Prone to Problem Drinking Than Men: Study

FRIDAY, May 17, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- It comes as little surprise that college students sometimes binge drink, but new research shows that college women are more likely to drink unhealthy amounts of alcohol on a weekly basis than are college men.

Much of this difference is probably because the amount of alcohol that's considered safe on a weekly basis is much lower for women than it is for men: seven drinks for women versus 14 for men. But, there's good reason for that difference. Women don't metabolize alcohol in the same way as men, and lesser amounts of alcohol can increase the risk of breast cancer and liver disease in women.

Throughout the study, 15 percent of women exceeded weekly drinking limits compared to 12 percent of men. In addition, men's weekly drinking appeared to go down throughout the year, but not so for women.

"College women adopt a drinking style that will cause toxicity soon. Overall, women drink less than men do, but they don't seem to know how much less they should be drinking in a week," explained Bettina Hoeppner, lead study author and an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School.

Hoeppner said the biggest concern is that women may be setting themselves up for long-term health problems, particularly if they're not aware of the safe weekly alcohol limits. She noted that women might think they're fine if they don't binge drink, but it's easy to hit the weekly limit by just having a glass of wine with dinner every night.

The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines low-risk drinking as no more than three drinks a day or seven drinks a week for women. For men, those limits are four drinks a day and 14 drinks a week.

The daily limits were set to avoid the physical and thinking problems that can occur from drinking too much in one day. The weekly limits took into account how much alcohol someone would need to consume to raise their risk of chronic health conditions, such as liver disease, sleep disorders, heart disease and some cancers.

Hoeppner's study included 992 college students: 575 females and 417 males. The students provided biweekly reports of their daily drinking habits through a Web-based questionnaire.

Two-thirds of both the men and women exceeded the NIAAA weekly or daily guidelines at least once during the year, according to the study. Slightly more than 51 percent of the women and about 45 percent of the men exceeded weekly drinking limits at least once during the year.

Men were slightly more likely to exceed daily limits than women: 28 percent of men versus 25 percent of women, but the researchers said this difference wasn't statistically significant.

The study findings appear online May 17 and in the upcoming October print issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Dr. Marc Galanter, director of the division of alcoholism and drug abuse at the NYU Langone Medical Center, said he suspects that college women may be trying to drink as much as their male counterparts. "I think these young women are independent souls and are motivated to drink in a manner that's similar to the way that men are drinking," he said. "In terms of what's considered normative, there isn't much difference between men and women now."

But, he cautioned, "Comparable levels of drinking for women have a greater impact in terms of intoxication."

Study author Hoeppner said she didn't think that women were necessarily trying to drink as much as men, just that they might not be as aware of what's considered a safe weekly limit.

"Women need to be reminded that there are weekly limits, and women can exceed those limits quickly. It's important to track the number of drinks you have per week, not just on occasion. And, alcohol prevention information should address the rationale behind weekly limits," Hoeppner suggested.


College women exceed their alcohol limits more than men, study finds

[fragment number=0]Most college students are warned about the risks of binge drinking: date rapes, alcohol poisoning, accidental injuries, and even long-term memory problems. But many may not be aware of the health dangers of exceeding too many alcoholic drinks on a weekly basis in fact, women are more likely to do this than men, according to a recent study from Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Addiction Medicine.

The researchers surveyed nearly 1000 freshman college students attending schools in New England once every two weeks for about four months to determine how much they drank daily and how much they drank over the course of the week. They found that women were about 50 percent more likely than men to exceed the daily and weekly limits set by the National Institutes of Alcoholic Abuse and Alcoholism.

Those guidelines say no more than three drinks on any single day and no more than seven drinks per week for women. For men, the guidelines state no more than four drinks in a day or 14 drinks per week.

The differences in the recommendations are based on cut-off points for disease risks, said study leader Bettina Hoeppner, a biostatistician at the Center for Addiction Medicine. A woman’s risk of developing breast cancer or liver disease rises above average when she exceeds that alcohol limit. So, too, does a man’s risk of developing liver disease and other alcohol-related health problems.

A lack of awareness concerning the weekly limit may be driving many women to exceed it. In fact, the researchers found that most of the gender differences were due to women exceeding their weekly rather than their daily limit.


Contributor Information

Sean Esteban McCabe, Sean Esteban McCabe is Research Associate Professor, University of Michigan, Substance Abuse Research Center, 2025 Traverwood Dr., Suite C, Ann Arbor, MI 48105-2194.

Michele Morales, Michele Morales is Research Associate, University of Michigan, Substance Abuse Research Center, 2025 Traverwood Dr., Suite C, Ann Arbor, MI 48105-2194.

James A. Cranford, James A. Cranford is Research Assistant Professor at University of Michigan, Substance Abuse Research Center, 2025 Traverwood Dr., Suite C, Ann Arbor, MI 48105-2194.

Jorge Delva, Jorge Delva is Associate Professor, University of Michigan, School of Social Work, 1080 S. University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106.

Melnee D. McPherson, Melnee D. McPherson is Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Michigan, Substance Abuse Research Center, 2025 Traverwood Dr., Suite C, Ann Arbor, MI 48105-2194.

Carol J. Boyd, Carol J. Boyd is Professor and Director, University of Michigan, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, 204 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1290.


Sugary drinks may raise bowel cancer risk, claims major US study

Heavy consumption of sugary drinks may raise the risk of developing bowel cancer before the age of 50, according to a major study into diet and disease in US nurses.

Researchers analysed dietary and medical records of more than 95,000 women tracked from 1991 to 2015 as part of the US Nurses’ Health II study and looked for evidence linking sugary drinks to early diagnosis of bowel cancer.

The scientists reported that women who consumed more than a pint of sugary drinks a day were twice as likely over the course of the study to be diagnosed with early onset bowel cancer than those who drank less than half a pint a week.

Given that sugary drinks are already known to be bad for health – by driving up rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes – the researchers at Washington University in St Louis said their results provided another reason not to consume too much. “Our findings reinforce the public health importance of limiting sugar-sweetened beverage intake for better health outcomes,” they wrote in the journal Gut.

But some scientists not involved in the work said the findings were tentative because only 109 women who enrolled in the study were diagnosed with early onset bowel cancer, and among them only 16 reported drinking more than a pint of sugary drinks a day. Eating red and processed meat, a diet low in fibre, smoking, drinking alcohol and being overweight have all been found to raise the risk of the disease, and these can be hard to fully account for, they said.

“We just can’t be sure whether the observed association between sugary drinks and bowel cancer under the age of 50 is one of cause and effect,” said Kevin McConway, an emeritus professor of applied statistics at the Open University.

Bowel cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK and, while only 5% of cases in men and 7% in women are in the under 50s, rates in these younger people have been increasing steadily for the past two decades. In 2019, a major French study found evidence that sugary drinks may raise the risk of various cancers.

To look at whether the consumption of sugary drinks in adolescence could play a role in rising rates of bowel cancer, the researchers analysed questionnaires that 41,000 of the women completed on their drinking habits when they were 13 to 18 years old. According to the study, for every daily sugary drink, measuring 250ml, the risk of developing bowel cancer before 50 years of age rose by 32%.

But again, some scientists believe more studies are needed to confirm the effect. “The analysis is based on only six cases of cancer found in this group. This is too small to draw any strong conclusions,” said Dr Carmen Piernas, a nutrition scientist at the University of Oxford.

Duane Mellor, a dietitian at Aston University, said that while reducing sugary drink intake might lower the risk of bowel cancer, it may have little effect without also improving lifestyle and overall diet.

This article was amended on 7 May 2021. An earlier version referred to a 350ml measurement of sugary drink, when 250ml was meant. And an erroneous reference to women who drank less than half a pint “a day” was changed to “a week”.


Chug! Chug! Chug! Why More Women Are Binge Drinking

A young woman, Allison, at her own birthday party in Henrietta, N.Y.

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It’s not just fraternity brothers who are guzzling one beer too many. Women and high school girls are equally likely to drink too much.

According to the latest survey from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 14 million U.S. women binge drink about three times a month, downing about six beverages per binge. The survey defined binge drinking as consuming five or more drinks in one sitting for men and four or more for women.

It’s not unusual for young women ages 18 to 34, as well as high schoolers, to overindulge 1 in 8 women and 1 in 5 high school girls report drinking to excess. But binge drinking accounts for about 23,000 deaths among women and girls in the U.S. each year.

Long bouts of drinking typical of binges can lead to unpleasant, not to mention potentially dangerous, consequences for both men and women. In her award-winning photography project “Keg Stand Queens,” photographer Amanda Berg documented her friends’ drinking habits during parties at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The collection includes images of underage girls in sexually compromising positions, passed out on lawns and leaning over toilet seats.

“The project began a conversation for me on things that I was guilty of, perhaps uncomfortable with, but would still do,” says Berg. “I think there is something inherent about the community [binge drinking] builds, and the way it lubricates an individuals’ social interactions. While I was doing the project, my social life changed because I wasn’t participating while I was taking photos, and it really made me separate from everyone else.”

According to the latest CDC report, women who binge-drink may be putting themselves at increased risk for breast cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, heart disease and unintended pregnancy. Pregnant women who binge-drink expose their unborn child to a high risk of fetal-alcohol spectrum disorders and sudden-infant-death syndrome.

Drinking games at a birthday party in Henrietta, N.Y.

“If it is true there really is a modern increase [in female binge drinking], then I think there are specific things that women have to consider and people need to talk about, but I don’t think that [only] women should be blamed for the negative side effects of it. But [those risks] should be on the table. There is almost a social taboo of bringing it up, and it is a little controversial, but I think people should get comfortable talking about it.”

In describing her work, Berg argues that the danger of binge drinking among women is that women’s bodies, which are typically smaller than men’s, cannot handle the same amounts of alcohol, so attempting to keep up can be dangerous. And when the worst does happen, she writes in her blog post about the project, there is a tendency to try to justify it:

After a night of excessive drinking sexual assault can be redefined as a “hook up.” The loss of memory due to inebriation can proudly be termed “blacking out.” Words like “apparently” preface the stories told of the prior night. With this, women abdicate responsibility and give themselves permission to repeat the same behavior.

Although the CDC report does not speculate why women are binge drinking, Dr. David Jernigan, director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, says that female-friendly alcohol-marketing strategies that emerged 10 years ago — including flavored vodkas, alcopops, Smirnoff Ice, Barcardi Silver and Mike’s Hard Lemonade — may be playing a role.

“All of these were clearly oriented to women. The data showed these products were most popular among females of every age group and were most popular among young drinkers. Those of us involved in alcohol prevention called alcopops ‘beer with training wheels,'” says Jernigan. “Women traditionally drank less than men — and still do — but there has been a very intentional effort to increase it, and this has started exposing young women to products and marketing at high rates. The numbers are not surprising to us and are of great concern.”

The CDC researchers, however, are hopeful that the trend will reverse. “The good news is that the same scientifically proven strategies for communities and clinical settings that we know can prevent binge drinking in the overall population can also work to prevent binge drinking among women and girls,” Dr. Robert Brewer of the alcohol program at CDC said in a statement.

Jernigan says tighter standards on alcohol marketing, higher alcohol taxes and reduced availability are some potential ways to decrease binge drinking. “There ought to be places the [alcohol] industry agrees not to advertise. They are very active in the digital space, and it’s easy to gain access if you’re underage. You might have to do some math to put in a birth date, but otherwise all you have to do to get in a website is click yes or no. It’s not an effective deterrent,” says Jernigan.

While the CDC researchers recognize that binge drinking is a problem for both genders, highlighting the growing problem among women may lead to more targeted strategies and put pressure on targeted marketing campaigns. “It is a big service that the CDC is now presenting alcohol abuse as a woman’s issue. We only wish that it had come sooner, because the marketing is 10 years ahead of it,” says Jernigan.


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