TUESDAY, Jan. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Binge drinking is a significant problem among women and girls in the United States, with one in five female high school students and one in eight young women reporting frequent episodes, federal health officials reported Tuesday.
For women, binge drinking means downing four or more drinks on an occasion. Every month, about 14 million women and girls binge drink at least three times, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And women who binge drink average about six drinks at a time, the report said.
"Although binge drinking is even more of a problem among men and boys, binge drinking is an important and unrecognized women's health issue," CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden, said during a noon press conference Tuesday.
And the consequences for women, who process alcohol differently than men, are serious, Frieden said.
"There are about 23,000 deaths among women and girls each year due to drinking too much alcohol," he said. "Most of those deaths are from binge drinking."
Binge drinking also increases the risk for many health problems such as breast cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, heart disease and unintended pregnancy, he added.
In addition, pregnant women who binge drink expose their baby to high levels of alcohol that can lead to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and sudden infant death syndrome, he noted.
Frieden noted that the number of adult women who binge drink hasn't changed much in the past 15 years. But changing patterns among young people mean that high school girls are binge drinking nearly as often as boys, Frieden explained.
"While the rate among high school boys fell considerably in recent decades, it has remained relatively constant among high school girls, which is why there is hardly any difference at this point between boys and girls in drin
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