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Alcohol consumers are becoming the norm, UT Southwestern analysis finds
Date:9/29/2010

DALLAS Sept. 29, 2010 More people are drinking than 20 years ago, according to a UT Southwestern Medical Center analysis of national alcohol consumption patterns. Gathered from more than 85,000 respondents, the data suggests that a variety of factors, including social, economic and ethnic influences and pressures, are involved in the increase.

"The reasons for the uptick vary and may involve complex sociodemographic changes in the population, but the findings are clear: More people are consuming alcohol now than in the early 1990s," said Dr. Raul Caetano, dean of the UT Southwestern School of Health Professions and lead author of the paper available online and in the October issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

The findings, Dr. Caetano said, suggest that continuous monitoring of alcohol consumption levels is needed to understand better the factors that affect consumption. Monitoring also would help to detect as early as possible signs that rates of risky drinking behaviors such as binge drinking or drinking to intoxication may be increasing, said Dr. Caetano, who also is regional dean of the UT School of Public Health's campus in Dallas.

"Changes in the population due to aging, the influx of immigrant groups, and a decline in mean income level because of economic recessions can all impact trends in drinking and problems associated with drinking," he said.

While more Caucasians, Hispanics and African-Americans reported drinking between 1992 and 2002, only Caucasian women consumed more drinks per person. The number of drinks that African-Americans and Hispanics consumed leveled out over the 10-year time period.

In addition to an increase in the number of both male and female drinkers within all three ethnic groups, the researchers also found that among women, Caucasians were more likely than Hispanics or African-Americans to consume five or more drinks a day or drink to intoxication.
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Contact: Kristen Holland Shear
kristen.hollandshear@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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