Binge drinking affects 1 in 10 older adults in the US
| By Catharine Paddock PhD, July 31, 2019
Medical News Today – Binge drinking affects more than one-tenth of older adults in the United States, according to new research.
Binge drinking can be harmful for older people because it increases the risk of injuries and falls and the chances of developing chronic health problems.
The new Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study analyzed recent national survey data on alcohol use.
The analysis estimates that 10.6% of adults in the U.S. who are 65 years of age and older are “current binge drinkers.”
Older people who binge drink are also more likely to be male and current users of cannabis or tobacco.
The researchers suggest that the findings reinforce the importance of screening older adults for binge drinking to reduce potential harms.
“Binge drinking, even episodically or infrequently, may negatively affect other health conditions by exacerbating disease, interacting with prescribed medications, and complicating disease management,” says lead study author Benjamin H. Han Ph.D., an assistant professor in geriatric medicine and palliative care at NYU School of Medicine in the city of New York.
The association with chronic conditions
The researchers found that a large proportion of older people who reported at least one binge drinking episode in the previous month had chronic conditions that can get worse with binge drinking.
The data came from 10,927 people aged 65 years and older who had completed the National Survey on Drug Use and Health during 2015, 2016, and 2017 waves.
The survey had asked them if they had “engaged in alcohol use and binge drinking in the past month.”
It defined binge drinking for women as consuming 4 or more drinks, and for men as consuming 5 or more drinks, at one sitting.
These levels are consistent with how the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) define binge drinking … Read more.