Frieden noted binge drinking is common among both men and women. "Fifty percent of all the alcohol consumed by adults and about 90 percent of all of the alcohol consumed by kids is consumed during a binge," he said.
Binge drinking was most common among women 18 to 34 and high school girls. In addition, white and Hispanic women and women with household incomes of $75,000 or more were more likely to binge drink.
Moreover, more than half of high school girls who drink say they binge, the researchers found. Overall, slightly less than 20 percent of high school girls said they binge drink. Among high school seniors, 62 percent of girls who report drinking say they binge drink, Frieden said.
Doctors should talk to their patients about drinking and particularly about binge drinking and the risks of excessive alcohol consumption, he advised.
Recommended guidelines call for women to have no more than one drink a day and for men up to two drinks, he said. "Underage youth and women who are pregnant should not drink at all," Frieden said.
To reach their conclusions, CDC researchers collected data on 278,000 women who were part of the 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and about 7,500 high school girls from the 2011 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
One expert said the report confirms earlier research. "This report reiterates what has been known to be a problem for some time -- girls and women binge drink at significant levels," said Dr. J.C. Garbutt, professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
"We know that the risk for many medical, behavioral and social problems rises as the level of consumption rises," he added.
Given the dangers of binge drinking, Garbutt believes steps such as educating women on the risks and launching doctor- and community-led efforts to curb binge drinking are necessary. But it's a difficult behavior to change, he added.
All rights reserved