Women are Nearly Drinking Alcohol as Much as Men Do

Oct 26, 2016 06:03 AM EDT

Women are catching up to men in terms of alcohol consumption. Previous studies have shown that men are more likely than women to drink alcohol in quantities that could be damaging to health.

Some studies even suggested that men commonly have alcohol-related problems 12 times more than women do, Live Science reports.

However, a recent study found that women are nearly drinking as much alcohol as men do, particularly for women who were born in the last 15 to 25 years. A team of researchers from the University of New South Wales' National Drug and Alcohol Research Center in Australia analyzed information from over 4 million people living in different countries across the world who were born from as long ago as 1891 and as recent as 2000. They gathered data from 68 relevant international studies comparing men and women's alcohol drinking patterns published between 1980 and 2014.

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According to the findings, which were published in the journal BMJ Open, men who were born between 1891 and 1910 were 2.2 times more likely to drink alcohol than women born between the same period. But for men and women born between 1991 and 2000, alcohol consumption rates are almost equal, with men only 1.1 times more likely to consume alcohol than women.

The same patterns were observed in terms of problematic alcohol use (e.g. binge drinking) and experiencing harm from drinking alcohol (e.g. alcohol dependence).

Men who were born between 1891 and 1910 were three times more likely to have alcohol use problems compared to women born in the same period. But among men and women born between 1991 and 2000, men were only 1.2 times more likely to have alcohol use problem than women. At the same time, men born between 1891 to 1910 were 3.6 times more likely to experience associated harm from alcohol use than women, but the rate fell to only 1.3 for the younger group of subjects.

"Alcohol use and alcohol use disorders have historically been viewed as a male phenomenon," the researchers said in a report by Live Science. "The present study calls this assumption into question and suggests that young women in particular should be the target of concerted efforts to reduce the impact of substance use and related harms."

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