Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Heavy drinking, binge drinking rise; interactive map shows county data on those, and any drinking

Heavy drinking and binge drinking rose significantly from 2002 to 2012, says a county-level study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Wisconsin, published last week in the American Journal of Public Health. The study has data on heavy drinking, binge drinking and any drinking, and separate data for men and women are available.

The data are adjusted for age, and the county figures reflect statistical modeling to compensate for small sample sizes in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a continuous poll by the federal Centers for Disease Control. The data have been used to create a county-level interactive map, which shows the possible ranges of percentages, reflecting the poll's error margins. The map site also includes county-level numbers for smoking, life expectancy, hypertension, obesity, physical activity and poverty. Here's a screen grab:
The study found that Wisconsin is the heaviest-drinking state, with 12 percent of adults 21 and over being heavy drinkers, Christopher Ingraham reports for The Washington Post. Following Wisconsin are Vermont, Montana, Washington, D.C., and Iowa. Utah has the lowest number of heavy drinkers, at 5.2 percent, followed by West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi and Oklahoma. The national average was 8.2 percent.

Kentucky, which has a relatively small percentage of drinkers, appeared to lead the nation in increases in drinking and binge drinking and was among the leaders in heavy drinking, based on these maps:
The data show that adults in Esmeralda County, Nevada, are the nation's heaviest drinkers, and Menominee County, Wisconsin, has the highest number of binge drinkers, classified as four drinks or more for women and five drinks or more for men on a single occasion at least once during the past month.

The national average for binge drinking is 18.3 percent, but several rural counties were nearly twice that much. Following Menominee County are: Loving County, Texas, (35.5 percent); Nance County, Nebraska, (35.2 percent); Renville County, North Dakota, (34.2 percent); Esmeralda County, Nevada, (33.8 percent); Steele County, North Dakota, (33.6 percent); Nelson County, North Dakota, (33.5 percent); Ontonagon County, Michigan, (33.3 percent); Toole County, Montana, (33.2 percent); and Burke County, North Dakota, (33 percent).

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