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CDC Definition of ‘Heavy Drinker’ May Surprise You

Excessive drinking is linked to thousands of deaths


A woman who has eight or more alcoholic drinks a week is considered a “heavy drinker” under standards issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Source: Flickr

Men who drink 15 or more drinks a week are also heavy drinkers, according to the CDC’s math. The number of drinks that makes a woman a heavy drinker is lower compared to that for a man due the smaller average size of women’s bodies and differences in metabolism, CNN notes.

The CDC defines a drink based on the alcohol content of the beverage. The definition translates to 1.5 ounces of liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer. However, the CDC’s definition is now universally accepted by all health experts.

Regardless of how heavy drinking is defined, Americans are urged to moderate their alcohol consumption.

Why? In a report released this week, the CDC found that 1 in 10 deaths among people between the ages of 20 and 64 — about 88,000 deaths every year — can be linked to excessive drinking. Men comprise 70% of those who die from excessive drinking.

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