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Adults Having Five or More Alcoholic Beverages in 1 Day

Think before you drink: excessive alcohol use can lead to health problems such as liver disease, unintentional injuries, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs).

Chart: Adults (aged 18 years and over, United States) Who had Five or More Alcoholic Drinks in 1 Day (at least once in the past year), by Race/Ethnicity (estimates for Race/Ethnicity are adjusted by age and sex), 2010. Hispanic/Latino: 19.8%; White, single race (not Hispanic or Latino): 27.7%; Black or African American, single race (not Hispanic or Latino): 12.6%. Source: National Health Interview Survey.Chart: Adults (aged 18 years and over, United States) Who had Five or More Alcoholic Drinks in 1 Day (at least once in the past year), by Age Group and Sex, 2010. 18-24 years: Male (38.9%), Female (28.4%); 25-44 years: Male (42.9%), Female (20.4%); 45-64 years: Male (26.6%), Female (12.3%); 65 years and over: Male (9.7%), Female (1.4%). Source: National Health Interview Survey.Many December parties and get-togethers involve alcoholic beverages; often these situations involve more alcohol than people usually drink at other times during the year. For this reason, the CDC.gov Data & Statistics feature is highlighting responses to the following question from the 2010 (January-June) National Health Interview Survey (NHIS): "In the past year, on how many days did you have five or more drinks of any alcoholic beverage?"

Estimates are based on household interviews of a sample of the civilian noninstitutionalized U.S. population.

Overall, 23.0% of adults aged ≥18 years had five or more alcoholic drinks in 1 day at least once in the preceding year. For both men and women, the percentage generally decreased with age. In all four age groups, men were substantially more likely than women to have had five or more drinks in 1 day at least once in the preceding year. The percentage of whites who reported five or more alcoholic drinks in 1 day at least once during the preceding year, at 27.7%, was more than twice the percentage of blacks (12.6%) and significantly higher than Hispanics or Latinos (19.8%)

Excessive alcohol use, either in the form of heavy drinking (drinking more than two drinks per day on average for men or more than one drink per day on average for women), or binge drinking (drinking 5 or more drinks during a single occasion for men or 4 or more drinks during a single occasion for women), occurs in approximately 15% of the United States population. Moreover, excessive alcohol use is the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death for people in the United States each year.

Data Source: CDC/NCHS, National Health Interview Survey, 1997–June 2010, Sample Adult Core component [PDF - 48 KB]. Data are based on household interviews of a sample of the civilian noninstitutionalized population.

More Information

  • Page last reviewed: December 22, 2010
  • Page last updated: December 22, 2010
  • Content source:
    • Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs
    • Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs
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