An analysis of 31 studies on alcohol drinking patterns worldwide has found that people born in North America after World War II are more likely than other groups to engage in binge drinking and develop alcoholism. Younger groups consistently consume more alcohol than older generations.
Researchers, led by Katherine M. Keyes of Columbia University, evaluated data dating from 1948. She found that the United States differs from Western Europe and Australia because a larger number of Americans don't drink at all. But the number of nondrinkers in this country is declining.
Moreover, the postwar rise in alcohol use in the United States is not seen in Western Europe or Australia. The study also showed that problem drinking rates continue to rise among women, "challenging the paradigm of alcohol consumption as a male-dominated health issue," the authors wrote.
The study is published online in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
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