STD Quarterly

More than 1 in 4 teens binge drink, CDC says

Be sure to include questions on alcohol consumption during adolescent screenings. Why? Results of a new analysis of national data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that more than one in four U.S. teens and young adults admit they are binge drinkers.1

Binge drinking is defined as having four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men. The numbers vary because men and women metabolize alcohol differently.

"Binge drinking is a very large health and social problem" and one that has gone largely unnoticed, said CDC director Thomas Frieden, MD, in a press statement. "Most people who binge drink are not alcoholics. It may be because binge drinking has not been recognized as a problem [that] it has not decreased in the past 15 years."

Binge drinkers put themselves and others at risk for HIV transmission and sexually transmitted diseases, unplanned pregnancy, alcohol-related car accidents, and violence, according to the CDC.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vital signs: binge drinking among high school students and adults — United States, 2009. MMWR 2010;59:1274-1279.