Female college students are more likely than their male peers to drink more alcohol than is recommended by government guidelines, Harvard University researchers have found.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommend that men drink no more than four drinks a day, and 14 drinks a week. They advise women not to drink more than three drinks daily, or seven drinks weekly, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Women are advised to drink less than men because it takes less alcohol to cause them alcohol-related problems, according to researcher Bettina Hoeppner.
The study included 992 college freshmen, who were followed over two years. The researchers found women were more likely to drink more than recommended compared with men. Over the course of two years, men tended to exceed the weekly recommended alcohol limit less often, while women continued to drink at the same rate throughout the study.
Of the students who had at least one drink during their first year of college, 60 percent of men and 64 percent of women exceeded the weekly recommended alcohol limit at least once, the researchers report in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
“Weekly cut-offs are recommended to prevent long-term harmful effects due to alcohol, such as liver disease and breast cancer. By exceeding weekly limits more often than men, women are putting themselves at increased risk for experiencing such long-term effects,” Hoeppner said in a news release.
Colleges that are part of a national program to reduce binge drinking among students say the first two years have been productive. More schools will join the initiative in June.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about four out of five college students drink alcohol, and about half of college students who drink, also consume alcohol through binge drinking.