Food & Beverage

Male, Female Drinking Habits Becoming More Similar: Study

Maggie Fox
Skyrocketing whiskey demand boosts booze sales
Skyrocketing whiskey demand boosts booze sales

American women are starting to drink more and more like men — and men are starting to drink a little more like women, U.S. researchers reported Monday.

A survey of U.S. drinking habits found men were drinking a little less and women are drinking a little more. It's an especially clear trend among college students, the team at the National Institutes of Health found.

"Males still consume more alcohol, but the differences between men and women are diminishing," said Aaron White of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), who looked at data from 2002 to 2012 for the study.

Over that time, the percentage of women who had an alcoholic drink in the past 30 days went from 45 percent to 48 percent, while the percentage of men went from 57.4 percent to 56 percent.

And women consumed alcohol slightly more days a month — from 6.8 days to 7.3 days on average, while men drank on just slightly fewer days, down from 9.9 days to 9.5 days.

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The same number of college kids admitted to binge drinking. But more women and fewer men said they down five or more drinks in a row, the researchers found.

Heavy drinking takes a big toll and women may not want to catch up to men in this particular area, the researchers noted.

"In the United States, males drink more often and more heavily than females, consuming greater than twice as much alcohol per year (18 liters of pure alcohol for males, 7.8 liters for females)," the NIAAA team wrote in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

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And while 25 percent of men say they never drink, 37 percent of women abstain. Men are more likely to be arrested for driving under the influence, to be hospitalized with alcohol poisoning and to die in alcohol related traffic accidents.

"Excessive drinking caused 87,797 deaths annually from 2006 to 2010, of which two-thirds of decedents were males (62,104 males vs. 25,693 females)," they added.

And there's one more area where men outdo women.

"The prevalence of combining alcohol with marijuana during the last drinking occasion among 18 to 25 year old male drinkers increased from 15 percent to 19 percent, while the prevalence of combining alcohol with marijuana during the last drinking occasion among 18 to 25 year old female drinkers remained steady at about 10 percent," White said.