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One in 20 American adults are 'heavy drinkers,' CDC says

The latest CDC figures show that 5% of American adults are heavy drinkers. Photo by annca/Pixabay
The latest CDC figures show that 5% of American adults are heavy drinkers. Photo by annca/Pixabay

Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Just over 5% of American adults engage in "heavy drinking," according to figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The percentage of heavy drinkers among U.S. adults remains unchanged from 2014, when the CDC last addressed the issue, the agency said.

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More White adults 18 and older, 6.4%, admitted to high alcohol consumption than Black adults at 2.9.% and Hispanic adults at 2.6%, the data showed.

Men and women were equally likely to be heavy drinkers, and adults 65 and older, at 4.1%, were least likely to consume large amounts of alcohol, the CDC found.

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Those who saw a healthcare professional in the past year had the same risk for heavy drinking as those who had not, agency researchers said.

"Adults who visited a doctor or health care professional in the past year were as likely as those who had not ... to engage in heavy drinking [and] there was no association between heavy drinking and current health insurance status," the CDC researchers wrote.

"However, adults who have a usual place of care were less likely to engage in heavy drinking than adults without a usual place of care," they noted.

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The findings are from the National Health Interview Survey for 2018, an annual poll that has been conducted by the CDC since 1957. More than 35,000 U.S. households and 87,000 participate in the survey.

The agency defines "heavy drinking" as consumption of an average of more than 14 alcoholic drinks per week for men or more than seven drinks per week for women in the past year.

In July, the CDC reported that more than 93,000 Americans die from alcohol-related causes annually.

Based on the National Health Interview Survey findings, 7% of adults who regularly felt worried, nervous or anxious and nearly 8% of those who regularly felt depressed engaged in heavy drinking in the past year, CDC researchers said.

Only 5% of adults without these feelings reported consuming high amounts of alcohol, the data showed.

In addition nearly 7% of adults without a usual place of care were more likely than adults with a usual place of care, at 5%, to engage in heavy drinking, the data showed.

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