Americans are becoming increasingly heavy drinkers, with the greatest rise among women, older people and ethnic minorities, national surveys have shown.

Two large surveys carried out in 2001-02 and 2012-13 have found that harmful levels of drinking are increasing among almost all demographics in the US. The number of teetotallers is falling, while high-risk drinking and alcoholism rose sharply during the 11-year period, according to an analysis published in JAMA Psychiatry.

The first survey in 2001-02 questioned about 43,000 people on their drinking habits, while the second questioned 36,000 people. These large samples aimed to include people from all walks of life in the US to make sure they painted an accurate picture of the national population.

The number of people who had consumed alcohol in the past 12 months went up 11.2% in the time between surveys. High-risk drinking went up by almost 30%. This means that at present about 29.6 million Americans are putting their health at risk due to their drinking habits.

Men fall into the high-risk category if they have five or more standard drinks on one day at least once a week. Women are in this category if they have four or more in a day per week.

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SOURCE:  
International Business Times

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