Teen Binge Drinking: Common and Risky
Nearly 2 in 3 Teen Drinkers Admit Binge Drinking, Risking Their Health
Jan. 2, 2007 -- Almost two-thirds of high school students who drink alcohol
admit binge drinking and may be at risk of other serious health problems, says
The CDC estimates that 7.4 million high school students drink alcohol,
including 2.6 million binge drinkers.
Those figures, published in Pediatrics, are based on 15,240
students at public and private high schools nationwide who completed a 2003 CDC
Most students said they hadn't drunk alcohol in the past month.
But 45% admitted drinking, and 64% of the drinkers admitted binge drinking,
defined as having five or more drinks within a few hours.
Compared to nondrinkers, teen binge drinkers were:
- 11 times more likely to ride with a driver who had been drinking alcohol in
the past 30 days.
- 19 times more likely to be current smokers (smoked on one or more days in
the past 30 days).
- Four times more likely to be in a physical fight in the past 12
- Nearly four times more likely to have ever been raped or subjected to
dating violence in the past 12 months.
- Four times more likely to have attempted suicide during the past 12
- More than five times more likely to be sexually active with one or more
persons during the past three months.
Teen binge drinkers were also more likely to use marijuana, cocaine, and
inhalants, the study shows.
Binge drinking was more commonly reported by boys than by girls, and by
older teens than by younger teens.
Binge drinkers tended to have worse grades, based on the students'
Binge Drinking Riskiest
Student drinkers who denied binge drinking shared many of the same health
risks, but to a lesser extent.
"Our study clearly shows that it's not just that students drink alcohol,
but how much they drink that most strongly affects whether they experience
other health and social problems," researcher Jacqueline Miller, MD, says
in a CDC news release.
"It also underscores the importance of implementing effective strategies
to prevent underage and binge drinking," Miller notes.
Some students may have been reluctant to report underage drinking, so the
estimates may be too low, Miller's team notes.