A new government study finds that 10 percent of deaths of working-age adults may be due to excessive alcohol consumption, or binge drinking. Also shocking, binge drinking and heavy regular drinking actually cut the lives of the adults who died short by about 30 years.
According to the new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), binge drinking claimed a staggering 88,000 deaths per year from 2006 to 2010. The study found that almost 71 percent of the deaths were men. This is may be because men tend to drink more, drive more, and were also more likely to be involved in homicides.
The researchers studied how alcohol effects deaths in conditions such as: chronic diseases, high blood pressure, breast cancer, and strokes. The causes of death, such as motor vehicle accidents, were also taken into account. The report found that these premature deaths cost the United States about $224 billion dollars per year.
Dr. Robert Brewer, author of the study and leader of the alcohol program at the CDC, says that 10 percent of deaths in adults caused by binge drinking is unfortunate. Brewer says that one of the tragic issues about alcohol is the amount of lives claimed, from people who are in the prime of their lives.
The report highlights that alcohol is the fourth-largest cause of preventable deaths in adults. Alcohol trails behind poor nutrition, lack of activity, and smoking. However, this number varies from state to state. In Maryland, seven and a half percent of all deaths were attributable to alcohol, but this is less than half the rate of New Mexico. Other states with low rates of alcohol-related deaths include: Ohio, Indiana, New York and New Jersey.
Alcohol also claims more lives from drunk driving accidents. Brewer explains that rural states, where people have to drive long distances, have more problems with drunk driving than cities. However, Brewer insists that state policies can have a big effect. Brewer stresses that states, which raise the cost of alcohol by 10 percent, can actually lower the rate of drinking by almost seven percent. Compared to cigarettes, the taxes on alcohol are still quite low in every state.
Perhaps what is most alarming about the study is that the number, 10 percent of all deaths in adults, is almost actually underestimated. Brewer explains that the study did not get good estimates on the number of those deaths caused by heavy drinking. Brewer also explains the number of deaths being underestimated because the CDC didn’t include other causes of death in younger adults in the report. These other deaths include: pneumonia, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS. Brewer insists that alcohol was also the major factor of deaths from those health conditions. Alcohol is also the cause of a broad range of other deaths, such as: drowning, falls, boat crashes, or other accidents.
It is shocking to find that binge drinking causes 10 percent of deaths in working age adults. According to the study, five or more drinks in a single setting for men is considered binge drinking. For women, that amount is only four drinks. Heavy drinking is considered 15 or more drinks a week for men, and only eight drinks a week for women.
By Sara Petersen
Wall Street OTC