The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) state that if alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation, which is defined as up to two drinks in a single day for men and one drink for women. The purpose of this analysis was to estimate the percentages of adults who, on a given day, drank more than these limits and the percentages who drank too heavily; that is, more than four drinks for men and more than three for women. Dietary intake data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009-2010, were analyzed. Using a computer-assisted protocol, 24-hour dietary recalls were collected from 2,740 men and 2,941 women, age 21 years and older. Results were weighted to be nationally representative. Estimated mean daily intake was 1.2 drinks for men and 0.4 for women (1 drink=14 g of ethanol). On a given day, 36% of men and 21% of women consumed alcohol. Whereas 82% of men and 89% of women did not exceed the DGA's limits, 8% of men had more than four drinks, and 3% of women had more than three, amounts defined as heavy. The percentages who drank more than the DGA's limits varied by age group and were highest among men age 31 to 50 years and women age 51 to 70 years. Excessive drinking is an important health problem and is not limited to college-age individuals. Registered dietitians and other health professionals should be aware of excessive drinking by the adult US population. Consumer education resources are available.
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P. M. Guenther is a nutritionist, US Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Alexandria, VA.
E. L. Ding is an instructor in medicine, Harvard School of Public Health, Department of Nutrition, and Harvard Medical School-Brigham and Women's Hospital, Department of Medicine, Channing Laboratory, Boston, MA.
E. B. Rimm is an associate professor, Department of Epidemiology, and an associate professor of medicine, Harvard School of Public Health, Departments of Epidemiology and Nutrition, and Harvard Medical School-Brigham and Women's Hospital, Department of Medicine, Channing Laboratory, Boston, MA.
Published online: February 13, 2013
Accepted: December 17, 2012Available online 13 February 2013
STATEMENT OF POTENTIAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.
FUNDING/SUPPORT The authors conducted this research as part of their work as employees of their institutions without any outside funding.
© 2013 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.