In 2018, 5.1 percent of adults engaged in heavy drinking

In 2018, about 5 percent of U.S. adults engaged in heavy drinking during the previous year, according to an August data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics.

Peter Boersma, M.P.H., from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, and colleagues describe adult alcohol use in the United States using data from the National Health Interview Survey.

The researchers found that 66.3 percent of adults aged 18 years and older consumed alcohol in the previous year in 2018. Overall, 5.1 percent of adults aged 18 years and older engaged in heavy drinking (consumption of an average of more than 14 and more than seven alcoholic drinks per week for men and women, respectively, in the previous year). The likelihood of engaging in heavy drinking was increased for non-Hispanic white adults versus non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic Asian adults (6.4 percent versus 2.9, 2.6, and 2.0 percent, respectively). The likelihood of engaging in heavy drinking in the previous year was increased for adults who regularly felt worried, nervous, anxious, or depressed compared with those without these feelings. The likelihood of engaging in heavy drinking was similar for adults who did and did not see a doctor in the previous year.

“Heavy drinking was lowest among adults aged 65 and over compared with adults of other ages and highest among non-Hispanic white adults,” the authors write.