Annual Total Binge Alcohol Consumed by U.S. Adults, 2015
Binge alcohol use (four or more units for women, five or more units for men on an occasion) accounts for more than half of the 88,000 U.S. deaths resulting from alcohol use annually. Adult binge alcohol users do so frequently and at high intensity; however, there are known disparities in binge alcohol use that are not well characterized by any single binge-alcohol use measure. A new measure of total annual binge alcohol use was used to assess these disparities at the state and national levels.
Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 2015 data (analyzed in 2016) were used to estimate the prevalence, frequency, intensity, and total binge alcohol use among U.S. adults. Total annual binge alcohol use was calculated by multiplying annual binge-alcohol use episodes by binge-alcohol use intensity.
In 2015, a total of 17.1% of U.S. adults (37.4 million) reported an annual average of 53.1 binge-alcohol episodes per binge alcohol user, at an average intensity of 7.0 units per binge episode, resulting in 17.5 billion total binge alcohol units, or 467.0 binge alcohol units per binge alcohol user. Although binge alcohol use was more common among young adults (aged 18–34 years), half of the total binge alcohol were consumed by adults aged ≥35 years. Total binge alcohol per binge alcohol userwere substantially higher among those with lower educational levels and household incomes than among those with higher educational levels and household incomes.
U.S. adult binge alcohol users consume about 17.5 billion total binge alcohol units annually, or about 470 binge alcohol units/binge alcohol user. Monitoring total binge alcohol can help characterize disparities in binge alcohol use and help plan and evaluate effective prevention strategies.