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6 Out of 10 American Adults Drink

Highly educated white men most likely to be tipplers, study finds

WEDNESDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) -- Close to two-thirds (61 percent) of American adults consider themselves drinkers, a new U.S. government report finds.

Men are more likely to drink alcohol than women, and people with more education are the most likely to drink, but almost one-quarter of U.S. residents say they've abstained their whole lives.

The findings from the report, "Health Behaviors of Adults: United States, 2005-2007," were released this week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. The results shed light on the alcohol use, smoking status, weight, physical activity and sleep habits of U.S. adults aged 18 and older.

Highlights of the findings on alcohol use include:

  • Among men, 68 percent say they currently drink, but just 55 percent of women do.
  • Nearly 25 percent of all adults surveyed said they never drink: 31 percent of women and 18 percent of men were lifetime abstainers.
  • White men and women were more likely to report drinking than other ethnicities, with 70 percent of white men saying they drink, compared to 57 percent of black men, 55 percent of Asian men, and 58 percent of American Indian or Alaska Native men. Among women, the numbers were 59 percent for whites, 40 percent for blacks, 32 percent for Asians, and 45 percent for American Indian or Alaska Natives.
  • Sixty-three percent of non-Hispanic adults said they drink compared to 51 percent of Hispanic adults.
  • Higher education boosts the likelihood of alcohol use, the survey suggests. Among respondents, nearly three-quarters with graduate degrees drink, compared to 44 percent of those who lack a high school diploma.
  • Richer people drink more: Just 45 percent of adults in families with incomes below the poverty level reported drinking, compared to 73 percent of those who have incomes four or more times the poverty level.

In addition to the findings on alcohol use, the report also noted that adults with higher levels of education are less likely to smoke, to be obese and to sleep less than six hours.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on alcohol use.

SOURCE: U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, news release, March 16, 2010

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