What is already known about this topic?
In 2015, 37 million (17.1%) U.S. adults reported binge drinking approximately once a week and consumed an average of seven drinks per binge drinking episode, resulting in approximately 450 total binge drinks per adult who reported binge drinking annually.
What is added by this report?
From 2011 to 2017, the total number of binge drinks consumed annually by U.S. adults who reported binge drinking increased significantly, from 472 to 529. Significant increases were observed among adults who reported binge drinking of both sexes, those aged ≥35 years, and those with lower educational levels and household incomes.
What are the implications for public health practice?
Application of population-level evidence-based prevention strategies (e.g., regulating alcohol outlet density) could reduce binge drinking and related harms.
Each year, excessive drinking accounts for one in 10 deaths among U.S. adults aged 20–64 years (1), and approximately 90% of adults who report excessive drinking* binge drink (i.e., consume five or more drinks for men or four or more drinks for women on a single occasion) (2). In 2015, 17.1% of U.S. adults aged ≥18 years reported binge drinking approximately once a week and consumed an average of seven drinks per binge drinking episode, resulting in 17.5 billion total binge drinks, or 467 total binge drinks per adult who reported binge drinking (3). CDC analyzed 2011–2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data to assess trends in total annual binge drinks per adult who reported binge drinking in the United States overall and in the individual states. The age-adjusted† total annual number of binge drinks per adult who reported binge drinking increased significantly from 472 in 2011 to 529 in 2017. Total annual binge drinks per adult who reported binge drinking also increased significantly from 2011 to 2017 among those aged 35–44 years (26.7%, from 468 to 593) and 45–64 years (23.1%, from 428 to 527). The largest percentage increases in total binge drinks per adult who reported binge drinking during this period were observed among those without a high school diploma (45.8%) and those with household incomes <$25,000 (23.9%). Strategies recommended by the Community Preventive Services Task Force§ for reducing excessive drinking (e.g., regulating alcohol outlet density) might reduce binge drinking and related health risks.
BRFSS is a state-based, random-digit–dialed landline and cellular telephone survey of noninstitutionalized, civilian U.S. adults aged ≥18 years that collects data during each calendar month, yielding a representative sample for the year.¶ Because important disparities in binge drinking behavior are not apparent based on an assessment of binge drinking prevalence alone, a new measure of binge drinking among U.S. adults was used (3). For each adult who reported binge drinking, the annual number of binge drinking episodes was calculated by multiplying the past 30-day frequency of binge drinking by 12. The largest number of drinks consumed by adults who reported binge drinking during