Alcohol use survey shows ups and downs
CSB/SJU Health Promotion, along with campus peer health groups, has been publicizing the effects alcohol consumption has on men and women. According to the 2013 Alcohol and Other Drug Use Survey, drinking rates at CSB/SJU have been trending down over the last decade.
Here are the annual and 30-day prevalence rates according to this self-report survey:
- Annual Prevalence (Percent reporting alcohol use within the last year):
CSB - 80.3% SJU - 82.8% National Average - 82% (men & women)
- 30 Day Prevalence (Percent reporting alcohol use within the month prior to survey):
CSB -71.4% SJU -75.1% National Average - 73% (men & women)
Women & Alcohol
Although overall drinking rates among men and women have been trending down, the 2013 Survey reports that binge drinking among women (4+ drinks for women per sitting or occasion) has slightly increased over the years. This means that while the number of men and women who use alcohol has trended down, women who are using alcohol are somewhat more likely to engage in binge drinking when they choose to use alcohol.
Over the next few months, we will be hosting programs and conducting educational campaigns to inform both men and women of alcohol's effect on the body. We will include a specific focus on women and alcohol because we have found that many students do not fully understand that women have different tolerances for the same amount of alcohol compared to men. Many seem to attribute this difference to variations in size/weight. While it is generally true that men tend to be larger than women, this is only part of the story. Men and women who are the same weight metabolize the same amount of alcohol differently. More specifically, if a 160-pound man and a 160-pound woman consume the same amount of alcohol, the woman will end up with a higher blood alcohol content (BAC) than the man. Here are some of the reasons for the difference:
- Women have less water in their bodies, resulting in higher alcohol concentration.
- Women have a higher proportion of body fat; since fat cannot absorb alcohol, this also results in higher alcohol concentration.
- Women produce less dehydrogenase than men (dehydrogenase is an important enzyme that helps the body break down alcohol).
- Women's hormone levels alter the way alcohol affects them.
Resources for Parents
The upcoming break between semesters may provide an opportune time to talk with your sons and daughters about alcohol and the role it may have in their college lives. Here are some helpful resources: