Want to live a long life? Better lay off the booze. According to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention alcohol is the leading cause of premature death in the United States. 1 in 10 deaths among working age adults are the result of excess alcohol consumption.
The CDC study found that binge drinking led to nearly 88,000 deaths from 2006 through 2010. The study focused on adults, men and women, between the ages of 20 and 64.
“In total there were 2.5 million years of potential life lost each year due to excessive alcohol use,” said Dafna Kanny of the CDC.
Those numbers are scary.
The CDC defines binge drinking as five or more drink consumed in succession for men and four or more for women.
Exact causes of death related to alcohol are wide ranging; from car accidents to chronic illness bred from boozing. Binge drinking deaths are also tied to suicide, drowning, depression and falling injuries. It’s the males that are killing themselves more than the opposite gender. 71 % of deaths during the study involved males.
“Among drivers in fatal motor vehicle crashes, men are almost twice as likely as women to have been intoxicated,” Kanny said.
Don’t drink and drive dudes.
According to U.S. dietary guidelines, women should drink no more than one drink per day while men may handle two. Anyone afraid they may have a drinking problem should consult their health care provider. Also, drinking is a choice. Make the choice to not drink excessively and urge friends to follow suit.
The government also has a role in preventing alcohol-related deaths. Laws regulating alcohol purchases should be strictly enforced. Under no circumstances should minors have easy access to alcohol. Community outreach programs at the school and church level do wonders in preventative maintenance.
Other preventative ideas involve increased taxes on alcohol and holding retailers liable for injuries and damage following illegal service or sale of booze.
“Health care providers can use alcohol screening and counseling to help people who are drinking too much,” Kanny said. “Adults can set a good example for young people by not drinking excessively and by not providing underage youth with alcohol.”
The study found that New Mexico had the highest rate of alcohol related deaths. 51 deaths every year per 100,000 residents. New Jersey had the lowest mortality rate related to alcohol, ‘only’ 19 per 100,000.
The percentage of deaths attributed to alcohol nationwide is 9.8%.