Differences between men's and women's drinking habits are narrowing.
The number of American women who are drinking alcohol is increasing and the number of men drinkers is declining, says a new study from the government and reported on health.com.
Looking at data from 2002-2012, the researchers found that women who consumed alcohol in the previous 30 days increased from 45 to 48 percent, while the number of men doing the same, fell slightly from 57 to 56 percent.
Aaron White, senior scientific adviser to the director of the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), said in a release, that the differences in men and women in measures such as current drinking, drinking days per month, driving while under the influence and reaching the criteria for an alcohol use disorder, all narrowed the gap.
He adds that men are still consuming more alcohol than women, but the difference is diminishing.
The results revealed that the number of days per month men reported drinking alcohol fell from 9.9 to 9.5 days over the period, but increased in women from 6.8 to 7.3 days.
Binge drinking, defined as having five or more drinks on a given occasion, remained steady among college students aged 18 to 25, but increased among women in the same age group who were not in college, even as it dropped significantly in men from the same group.
NIAAA Director George Koob also said in the release the study confirmed other reports that suggested the patterns of using alcohol has changed in the United States. He warns that increasing alcohol use among women is concerning since they are at a greater risk than men for several health-related issues arising from alcohol consumption, including liver inflammation, heart disease, and cancer.
The study only revealed one area in which the difference between men and women increased during the period, that being the combination of drinking with the use of marijuana, with women reporting using both remaining steady at 10 percent, but increasing among men from 15 to 19 percent among the 18-25 age group.
The researchers say the reasons for the closing of the gap are not clear, and they could not find an association with factors such as employment, pregnancy or marital status. They say more studies need to be completed to determine the causes and identify treatment and prevention strategies.
The finding from the study were published online in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.