Study says too many Americans still drink too much
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On any given day in the United States, 18 percent of men and 11 percent of women drink more alcohol than federal guidelines recommend, according to a study that also found that 8 percent of men and 3 percent of women are full-fledged "heavy drinkers."
That means the great majority of Americans stay within the advised limit of two drinks a day for men and one for women, according to the study that appeared in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
"And in fact, most adults don\'t drink at all on any given day," said lead author Patricia Guenther, a nutritionist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture\'s (USDA) Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.
"But the fact remains that it is a significant public health problem that many people do drink to excess."
Guenther said that members of the committee that drafted the current USDA guidelines on alcohol consumption wanted to know how many adults exceeded the limits.
She and her colleagues collected data from a nationally representative survey on health and nutrition, which included about 5,400 adults over age 21. Among other things, each was asked how much alcohol they drank the previous day.
The researchers found that 64 percent of men and 79 percent of women said they drank no alcohol at all that day, and another 18 percent of men and 10 percent of women drank within the recommended amounts.
Nine percent of men said they had three to four drinks the day before and 8 percent of women said they drank two to three alcoholic beverages, the researchers said.
The heaviest drinkers of all were the 8 percent of men who had five or more drinks, and 3 percent of women who had four or more.