A new study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) is suggesting that drinking habits of American men and women are becoming more and more similar. Findings of the study have revealed that although women have generally been outpaced by men in how often and how much they drink, the gap is gradually closing as alcohol consumption of women have increased.
When studying data obtained during annual national surveys carried out between the years 2002 and 2012, researchers have come to know that the difference between alcohol consumption by men and women has diminished in various measures. The same can be said even about different alcohol-related incidents.
Some of the factors evaluated by the research team include the number of days an individual drinks every month, number of individuals demonstrating symptoms of alcohol use disorder and the number of DUI (driving under the influence) incidents. The findings have been published recently in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
The study’s lead researcher Aaron White and his colleagues found that the rate of alcohol consumption among individuals who had alcohol last month increased from 44.9% to 48.3% for women and decreased to 56.1% from 57.4% for men between the years 2002 and 2012.
That’s not all; there was also an increase in the average number of days women consumed alcohol during the past 30 days. The number of days increased from 6.8 days to 7.3 days. On the other hand, there was a decrease in the number of days men consumed alcohol, from 9.9 days to 9.5 days.
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The researchers, however, haven’t yet managed to determine the reasons behind these patterns emerging between 2002 and 2012. They have also failed to explain the patterns based on current trends in marital status, pregnancy or employment.
NIAAA’s director George Koob stated that the facts put forward by this new study confirm what several recent reports have been suggesting about the altering patterns of alcohol use among American men and women. According to Koob, the data is particularly concerning because women have greater chances of developing alcohol-related ailments like cardiovascular diseases, liver inflammation, neurotoxicity, and cancer, than men.
CDC, on the other hand, says that due to their unique body chemistry and structure, women require more time to metabolize alcohol than men. This makes women more vulnerable to long-term ill-effects of alcohol than men.