A recent article published by the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research shows Americans over 60 are drinking more than they were 20 years ago. “Given the larger number of Americans we are going to have (as the population continues to age) that’s going to increase the need for more public health programming and planning” the study suggested. The researcher analyzed gender-specific trends from 145,000 responses between the years of 1997-2014.
In those years, binge drinking in men rose from 19.9% to 22.5%. Women had a similar upward trend, rising about 6% between 1997 and 2013. Binge drinking was used as its own category, and represented consumption of five or more drinks in a single day in the past year.
Between 1997 and 2014, binge drinking in men rose from 19.9% to 22.5%. Women had a similar upward trend, rising about 6% between 1997 and 2013.
THE DRINKING GENDER GAP
In the US, 20 years ago, 54% of men 60 and older were reported to be “current drinkers,” and 37.8% of women fit the same description. In 2014, both groups saw increases: Men rose to 59.9% and women to 47.5%. The flight larger uptick in women closed the margin to 12.4%. One interesting finding is that we see the gender gap closing.
Previously, researchers saw more of an increase from men, but now they see an equal increase. Dr. Bhanuprakash Kolla, a psychiatrist at the Mayo Clinic said “that the equalization between genders was unfortunate because the trend shows use in women is going up, not that the use in men is going down.” The study’s findings suggested that the upward trend of drinking among adults over 60, in particular women, suggests the importance of public health planning to meet future needs for alcohol-related programs.
According to the research, the aging US population is projected to almost double by 2050. If the trend of increased alcohol consumption that was seen between 1997 and 2014 continues, the researchers note that substantially more drinkers are likely. This will create a major need for public programs, either through public health planning, education and other alcohol-related programs.