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Only beer will do for bingers

According to a study recently released, most binge drinkers will reach for beer rather than wine or liquor when they set out to get drunk.

by: Stephanie Bagley | 10 Aug 2007

The study, conducted by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, examined the drinking habits of 14 000 adult binge drinkers across 18 US states, with a binge drinker defined as someone drinking more than five drinks at one session.

The researchers found that 67 percent of these drinkers drank only or mainly beer in their most recent binge, with easy access to beer seen as a major reason for this.

"Beer is sold in far more locations, especially outlets like convenience stores and gas stations, where impulse purchases are common," said head researcher Timothy Naimi, a medical epidemiologist with the centre.

The study, which appears in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found about two-thirds of all binge drinkers, no matter what age, race or education level, would choose beer over liquor, wine, or other alcohol.

The biggest gap was in the difference between men and women's drinking patterns.

About 73 percent of male binge drinkers would choose beer with only 19 percent opting for liquor, while 50 percent of women chose beer with 31 percent drinking liquor instead.

Naimi said most binge drinkers were not alcoholics but would drink to match their peers or for other reasons although this often made them and those around them vulnerable to alcohol-related problems.

"This is exactly the kind of drinking behaviour that leads to so many deaths and second-hand problems that inflict real pain and costs on society, not just the drinker."

The CDC is campaigning for tighter rules on the taxation of beer and on its availability, especially late at night and early in the morning.

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