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Do You Drink Too Much?

By on February 24, 2013

Whether it’s Monday or Friday night, a new study reveals that on any given day in the U.S., 18% of men and 11% of women drink more alcohol than federal dietary guidelines recommend. Data from the study also indicate that 8% of men are full-fledged “heavy” drinkers. So fellas ask yourself. Do you drink alcohol everyday? Do you drink more than one serving a day? If you go without alcohol does it change your mood? Be honest. Help is available.

Patricia Guenther, the lead study author and a nutritionist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion said members of the committee that drafted the current USDA guidelines on alcohol consumption wanted to know how many adults exceeded the limits. She and her colleagues collected data from a nationally representative survey on health and nutrition, which included about 5,400 adults over age 21. Among other things, each was asked how much alcohol they drank the previous day.

drinking_alcoholgThe researchers found that 64% of men and 79% of women said they drank no alcohol at all that day but still 9% of men said they had three to four drinks the day before. The heaviest drinkers of all were the 8% of men who had five or more drinks.  The researchers report is in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“Overall the study confirms that rates of unhealthy alcohol use in the U.S. are significant,” said Jennifer Mertens, a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, who was not involved in the study.

Regularly drinking more than recommended levels is linked to increased alcohol-related problems, like liver functioning, mental concentration, and even poses risk for addiction. Among men, the 31-to-50-year-old age group had the most heavy drinkers – 22 percent.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a government-backed advisory group, urges health care providers to screen all adults for risky drinking behaviors.

If you or someone you know think they may have a problem, there is help. Contact Alcoholics Anonymous or call the 24 hour Alcohol Addiction hotline at 866-383-4293. And if you are interested in a confidential 12-step program, find one near you right here.    




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