Women are Getting Closer to Drinking as much Alcohol as Men, Study Finds
Women and men's drinking rates are starting to level out, a new federal study found.
For this study, the researchers examined information on people's alcohol consumption between 2002 and 2013. They found that within the past 30 days, the amount of alcohol that women consumed increased from 45 percent to 48 percent. For men, their alcohol consumption fell from 57 percent to 56 percent.
The team also found that the number of days that people drank, on average, increased for women and decreased for men. In women, the average number of drinking days went from 6.8 to 7.3 whereas for men, the average number fell from 9.9 to 9.5 days.
The researchers reported that the binge-drinking rate for 18 to 25-year-old college students did not change. The rate did change drastically in women of the same age who were not in school.
"We found that over that period of time, differences in measures such as current drinking, number of drinking days per month, reaching criteria for an alcohol use disorder, and driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year, all narrowed for females and males," study leader Aaron White, senior scientific advisor to the director of the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), said in an institute news release reported by HealthDay. "Males still consume more alcohol, but the differences between men and women are diminishing."
When the researchers looked at age, they found that the binge-drinking rate for 18 to 25-year-old college students did not change. The rate did change drastically in women of the same age who were not in school.
The researchers noted the drinking rates in men did increase for one factor, which was when they combined alcohol with marijuana.
"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 reported.
The team noted that increasing drinking rates could become problematic especially since alcohol is bad for one's health. The researchers added that reasons for the increase in the drinking rate for women were unclear.
The study was published in the journal, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.