Chronic alcohol consumption is an indicator of potentially serious alcohol abuse, and is related to driving under the influence of alcohol. Females who drink more than seven drinks per week or more than three drinks per occasion are at increased risk for abuse. The question from the BRFSS to compare Utah and the nation is as follows: A drink of alcohol is 1 can or bottle of beer, 1 glass of wine, 1 can or bottle of wine cooler, 1 cocktail or 1 shot of liquor. During the past 30 days, how often have you had at least one drink of any alcoholic beverage? On the days when you drank, about how many drinks did you drink on the average? The Healthy People 2010 (related) goal is to reduce the proportion of females who engage in high risk alcohol consumption activities from the baseline of 72% in 1992 to the 2010 target of 50%. The Healthy People 2010 target for binge drinking in adults (ages 18 years and older) is 6.00% or less.
Binge drinking is a problem nationally, especially among males and young adults. Alcohol abuse is strongly associated with injuries and violence, chronic liver disease, fetal alcohol syndrome, and risk of other acute and chronic health conditions. Heavy drinking among women of childbearing age is a problem because of the risk for prenatal alcohol exposure. Birth defects associated with prenatal alcohol exposure can occur during the first 6 to 8 weeks of pregnancy before a woman knows she is pregnant. According to CDC estimates, approximately 76,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2001 were attributable to excessive alcohol use. In 2005 only 1.1% (N=570) of pregnant women stated they had consumed any alcohol during their pregnancy.
Utah Data vs. U.S. – How are we doing
The percentage of adults who reported being a heavy drinker in the past 30 days was substantially lower in Utah than in the U.S. for all years reported from 2001 to 2005. In 2005, 4.9% of U.S. adults reported heavy drinking in the past 30 days while in Utah only 2.9%.reported heavy drinking. For females nationally 4.0% indicated heavy drinking and in Utah it was only 2.5%.
Utah Cares is a free, confidential on-line tool that helps find state and community services. It is available at www.utahcares.utah.gov. Or dial 2-1-1 for state and community service information. Code 2-1-1 can now be accessed from anywhere in the state of Utah. 211 Info Bank, a program of Community Services Council, is a free information and referral line for health, human and community services. 211 provides information and referral on many topics.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, custom query accessed 12/11/06
- Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Office of Public Health Assessment, Utah Department of Health, custom query accessed 1/7/07