MADISON - One-fourth of Wisconsin residents binge drink at least once a month, according to a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The study aimed to determine how many people binge drink and how much they drink when they do, study co-author Robert Brewer, a physician who heads the CDC’s alcohol program, said..
Wisconsin binge drinkers had an average of almost 490 binge drinks per year, exceeding the national average of almost 470 drinks, the study found.
“It ends up being just a huge amount of alcohol in Wisconsin and the nation as a whole,” Brewer said.
The study defined binge drinking as a woman having four or more drinks and a man having five or more drinks during a short period of time.
About 17 billion binge drinks were consumed nationwide in 2015, with Wisconsin accounting for about 490 million drinks.
The state needs to focus on reducing alcohol consumption, Brewer said.
“This is not a situation where average is good. Average is bad,” he said. “We need to really be reducing that number substantially to reduce the risk of harm to the drinker themselves and others around them.”
About 88,000 deaths are caused by excessive alcohol use annually, the study estimated. Binge drinking is responsible for half of those deaths, Brewer said. Binge drinking can also contribute to incidences of vehicle crashes and interpersonal violence, as well as an increased risk for cancer and heart disease.
Those ages 35 and older accounted for half of the binge drinks consumed nationwide, the study found.