College women are drinking more alcohol than is good for them -- and they are doing it more often than their male counterparts are.
A study forthcoming in the October 2013 issue of "Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research" explored how often college men and women drank. A team led by medical researcher Bettina Hoeppner recruited 992 incoming students (average age of 18.4) at three New England universities and colleges.
Participating students were asked to complete an online survey about their alcohol consumption every two weeks throughout the academic year, where they indicated their daily alcohol consumption in the 7 previous days.
In 1990, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) issued guidelines that define low-risk drinking on a daily and weekly level. For men, 5 drinks a day and 14 drinks a week are considered low-risk. For women, 4 drinks a day and 7 drinks a week are considered low-risk.
Researchers found that, among students who drank alcohol, 85.4 percent exceeded an NIAAA drinking guideline at least once during their first week of college. More men than women exceeded the daily limit, and more women than men exceeded the weekly limit.
In January 2013, researchers at the University of Vigo found that female college students were more likely to binge drink than male college students. According to a CDC report, binge drinking in women and high school girls contributes to an estimated 23,000 deaths annually in the US. The same report found that white, college-educated woman aged 18-24 with $75,000 or more annual household income were more likely to binge drink than women of other races, ages, and socioeconomic categories.