Thursday, August 20, 2020

Only 5% Are Heavy Drinkers?

People lie about how much alcohol they drink, or maybe they just don't remember. This is a well known fact and occurs not just in the United States but in countries around the world. The evidence of underreporting is easily discovered by comparing how much people say they drink with actual alcohol volume sales. One review of these studies found self-reported drinking to be 40 to 60 percent below actual consumption.

With this in mind, consider the latest data on drinking in the United States. Overall, 66 percent of adults aged 18 or older reported consuming alcohol in the past year, according to the National Center for Health Statistics' 2018 National Health Interview Survey. The NCHS calculates alcohol consumption using two questions. First, the 66 percent of respondents who are drinkers are asked how often they drink. Then they are asked, "In the past year, on those days that you drank alcoholic beverages, on the average, how many drinks did you have?" Based on the answers to those two questions, the government calculates how much alcohol men and women consume in an average week. Men who drink more than 14 alcoholic drinks a week and women who drink more than 7 are classified as heavy drinkers. An alcoholic drink is defined as one 12-ounce beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor.

According to the calculations based on these self-reports, only 5.0 percent of men aged 18 or older drink more than 14 alcoholic drinks a week. Only 5.2 percent of women drink more than 7 drinks a week.  If you think this is an understatement, it most certainly is.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Heavy Drinking among U.S. Adults, 2018

No comments: