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Monitoring Alcohol Use

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CDC monitors alcohol use among women of childbearing age in the United States. These data are important to help reduce alcohol-exposed pregnancies by identifying groups of women at increased risk and designing prevention programs aimed at reducing risk behaviors and improving pregnancy outcomes.

The data are collected using the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). The BRFSS is an ongoing, state-based, random-digit-dialed telephone survey. To determine the potential number of women at risk for an alcohol-exposed pregnancy, data from the BRFSS are analyzed for women aged 18–44 years in all 50 states. Women are asked about their use of alcohol during the 30 days before the survey. It should be noted that the BRFSS excludes households without landline telephones, so the results might not be representative of certain segments of the U.S. population. Alcohol use may also be underreported.

The following patterns of alcohol drinking are examined:

  • Any alcohol use (one or more drinks)
  • Binge drinking (5 or more drinks on any one occasion).*

*In 2005, the definition of binge drinking for women was five or more drinks on any one occasion. In 2006, the definition of binge drinking for women was changed to four or more drinks on any one occasion.

State Prevalence Rates

Prevalence estimates vary from state to state and region to region. View your state's alcohol consumption rate in 2012.

Related Articles

These scientific articles are from 2004 to present.

Vital Signs: Binge Drinking Among Women and High School Girls – United States, 2011
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report; January 11, 2013; 62(01); 9-13 CDC
[Read article]

Alcohol Use and Binge Drinking Among Women of Childbearing Age – United States, 2006-2010
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report; July 20, 2012; 61(28); 534-538 CDC
[Read article]

Racial and ethnic disparities in preconception risk factors and preconception care
Journal of Women’s Health; 2012; doi: 10.1089/jwh.2011.3259
Denny CH, Floyd RL, Green PP, Hayes DK
[Read Summary]

Concurrent Alcohol Use or Heavier Use of Alcohol and Cigarette Smoking Among Women of Childbearing Age with Accessible Health Care
Prevention Science; June 2010; 11:197-206
Tsai J, Floyd RL, Green PP, Denny CH, Coles CD, Sokol RJ
[Read summary]

Alcohol Use Among Pregnant and Nonpregnant Women of Childbearing Age – United States, 1991-2005
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report; May 22, 2009; 58 (19); 529-532
CDC
[Read article]

Patterns and Average Volume of Alcohol Use among Women of Childbearing Age
Maternal and Child Health Journal; September 2007; 11(5):437-45
Tsai J, Floyd RL, Green PP, Boyle CA.
[Read summary]

Tracking Binge Drinking among U.S. Childbearing-Age Women
Preventive Medicine; April 2007; 44(4):298-302
Tsai J, Floyd RL, Bertrand J.
[Read article]

Alcohol Consumption among Women Who Are Pregnant or Who Might Become Pregnant --- United States, 2002
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report; December 24, 2004; 53(50); 1178-1181
J Tsai, RL Floyd.
[Read article]

 

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