Alcoholism & Addiction

Despite Celebration of Drink, Tennessee Has Lowest Binge Drinking Rate

Alcohol is often at the center of a social gathering – especially in the state of Tennessee. The home of the Jack Daniels Distillery is also the destination for the Cooper-Young Regional Beerfest, the “Gallon of Southern Fun” served at Silky O’Sullian’s and wine tastings at the Memphis Zoo.

With such a focus on consumption as the central element of an event, you would easily assume binge drinking to be a problem in the state. A Commercial Appeal report, however, shows that Tennessee actually has the lowest incidence of binge drinking among the 50 states in the Union.

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, roughly 20 percent of adults binge drink. This activity is known to include the consumption of four drinks in one sitting for a woman or five for a man.

To determine these binge drinking rates, the CDC relied on self-reported surveys received from 412,000 adults as part of the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, as well as 16,000 high school students who participated in the 2009 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

Often identified as the Southern or Appalachian states, including Kentucky and West Virginia, the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, Alabama and Florida, and all the way to Arkansas and Mississippi, this range of states actually has an overall low rate of binge drinking. Tennessee has the lowest at 6.8 percent. By comparison, the highest is in Wisconsin at 23.9 percent.

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