Distribution of Binge Drinkers in SF

Alcohol is tightly nestled in our society. Many of us drink on a regular basis, especially when we’re out with friends. And while one glass of red wine might help fight heart-disease, few have the power to stop there. The incentive to drink is great. There’s always a new bar to check out, or beer to try, and before you know it you’re locked into a routine. Few seem bold enough to question a peers drinking habits, possibly for fear of reprimand. And it’s highly irregular to come across someone who abstains from alcohol altogether. We’re typically astonished, and ask “Why don’t you drink?” When the real question should be “Why do I drink?”

According to the World Health Organization, excessive alcohol use leads to the death of 2.5 million people annually. That’s greater than the death toll of HIV/AIDS, violence, or tuberculosis. Alcohol consumption is the cause of over 60 diseases, including a bevy of cancers, and it’s a component in over 200 other diseases. And although you may have heard this countless times before, alcohol takes a hefty societal toll. It instigates and perpetuates violence, drunk driving, and neglect.

High income countries have the highest rates of alcohol consumption. And worldwide, 11.5 percent of drinkers partake in weekly binges according to the Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2011.

This bar graph shows the percentage of adults in SF who said they participated in binge drinking – five or more drinks on a single occasion for men and four or more drinks for women – sometime in the past year. Surprisingly, most binge drinkers are between the ages of 25 and 44. Still, college students are the second largest group, and the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption continue to be relevant in our alcohol soaked society. A good follow up story could examine which groups on campus are most suseptible to binge drinking. source: Health Matters


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