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10.6 Percent of Seniors Estimated as Current Binge Drinkers

WEDNESDAY, July 31, 2019 -- More than 10 percent of U.S. adults aged 65 years and older are estimated to be current binge drinkers, according to a report published online July 31 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Benjamin H. Han, M.D., M.P.H., from the New York University School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues estimated the prevalence of past-month binge alcohol use among 10,927 adults aged 65 years and older from the 2015 to 2017 U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

The researchers estimated that 10.6 percent of respondents were current binge drinkers. Compared with non-binge drinkers, binge drinkers were more likely to be male, have a higher prevalence of current tobacco and/or cannabis use, and have a lower prevalence of two or more chronic diseases. The prevalence of binge drinking was higher among non-Hispanic African-Americans versus whites, tobacco users, cannabis users, and those who visited the emergency department in the last year (adjusted prevalence ratios, 1.44 [95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.16 to 1.80], 1.52 [95 percent CI, 1.33 to 1.74], 1.41 [95 percent CI, 1.11 to 1.80], and 1.16 [95 percent CI, 1.00 to 1.33], respectively) in multivariable analysis among past-month alcohol users.

"With the aging of the population and the increases in alcohol use, including binge drinking in those aged 65 years and older, it is time to advocate for more effective means of educating, screening, and intervening to prevent alcohol-related harms in older adults," the authors write.

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Posted: July 2019

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