Binge drinking – an unrecognized problem of young women

Submitted by Nancy Morris

 

It’s the weekend and a college-educated woman heads home from a long week of work. Rather than a single glass of wine or beer, a startling number of young women binge drink to blow off steam.

Approximately 14 million women in the U.S. binge drink regularly. Binge drinking is defined as consuming four or more drinks in one occasion for females.

According to a 2011 survey by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 12.5 percent of females between 18-24 binge drink about three times a month, more than any other age bracket of women. Binge drinking is related to half of the 23,000 annual alcohol-related deaths of American women.

“It is a Guildford Women Drinkerscommon misconception that men are the drinkers to watch out for,” Karen Pershing, MDC executive director, said. “It is important that people learn the true facts about the drinking habits of young females.”

One possible cause of this trend may be found in advertising practices. Thanks to advanced marketing techniques, alcohol companies appeal to young women with fruity, soda-like drinks, such as wine coolers that serve as alternatives to beer.

Marketers have found that they can reach their targets by advertising “healthy” and “low-calorie” products that some believe will keep their waistline slim.

This risky behavior doesn’t begin at age 18. High school can be a trying time for adolescents trying to cope with the stresses of new relationships, grades and puberty. It can also act as a confidence builder for those with low self-esteem. The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System found that 45 percent of 12th grade girls drank alcohol in the last month and of that one in five were binge drinkers.

Over consumption of alcohol can have adverse effects, especially among adolescents whose bodies are still growing. Alcohol can affect a young girl’s health in several ways, contributing to developmental problems, chronic diseases, cancer also be more at risk for dating  violence, sexual assault, unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Parents should be acutely aware of what is going on in their child’s life. Early prevention of risky drinking behaviors can help a child maintain safe boundaries when it comes to alcohol. Parents can take a number of simple steps:

  • Limit stress by modeling healthy ways to deal with problems.
  • Hold family bonding activities that focus on supporting one another.
  • Talk to girls between grades 4 through 8 about alcohol before they start using.
  • Establish a positive female role model in their lives.

Heather Sutton, media relations director at MDC said “Substance abuse is an issue that starts at home. We must promote the right choices and educate our children if we want to see this trend stabilize.”

source: Metropolitian Drug Commission

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