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College Women More Prone to Problem Drinking Than Men: Study
Date:5/18/2013

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) -- It comes as little surprise that college students sometimes binge drink, but new research shows that college women are more likely to drink unhealthy amounts of alcohol on a weekly basis than are college men.

Much of this difference is probably because the amount of alcohol that's considered safe on a weekly basis is much lower for women than it is for men: seven drinks for women versus 14 for men. But, there's good reason for that difference. Women don't metabolize alcohol in the same way as men, and lesser amounts of alcohol can increase the risk of breast cancer and liver disease in women.

Throughout the study, 15 percent of women exceeded weekly drinking limits compared to 12 percent of men. In addition, men's weekly drinking appeared to go down throughout the year, but not so for women.

"College women adopt a drinking style that will cause toxicity soon. Overall, women drink less than men do, but they don't seem to know how much less they should be drinking in a week," explained Bettina Hoeppner, lead study author and an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School.

Hoeppner said the biggest concern is that women may be setting themselves up for long-term health problems, particularly if they're not aware of the safe weekly alcohol limits. She noted that women might think they're fine if they don't binge drink, but it's easy to hit the weekly limit by just having a glass of wine with dinner every night.

The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines low-risk drinking as no more than three drinks a day or seven drinks a week for women. For men, those limits are four drinks a day and 14 drinks a week.

The daily limits were set to avoid the physical and thinking problems that can occur from drinking too much in one day. The weekly limits took into account how much alc
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