Boozing it up never gets old, according to a new study that found one in 10 Americans aged 65 or older are binge drinkers.
And the tippling trend is on the upswing, researchers say.
Published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the report further found that these heavy-drinking seniors were more likely to be men — or those without a college education.
Researchers analyzed data gathered from 10,927 adults who participated in the US National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2015 to 2017. They applied the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism metric for defining binge drinking: five or more drinks for men and four or more for women.
“Binge drinkers were more likely to be male, have a higher prevalence of current tobacco and/or cannabis use, and have a lower prevalence of two or more chronic diseases compared to nonbinge drinkers,” writes lead study author Dr. Benjamin H. Han of the New York University School of Medicine.
Han and his colleagues note that the reduced binging among adults with chronic diseases — such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular illness — confirms findings reported in previous studies.
“This is referred to as the ‘sick quitter’ hypothesis, where alcohol may have contributed to poor health and, therefore, the selection biases lead researchers to compare a population of healthy older drinkers to unhealthy nondrinkers,” Han writes.
Public health campaigns targeting younger adults and teens, the study concludes, should be expanded to educate people about the dangers of binge drinking in the elderly.
“It is time to advocate for more effective means of educating, screening, and intervening to prevent alcohol-related harms in older adults,” researchers report.
This seniors-on-spirits study arrives at a time when “sober” bars are having a trending moment among younger people, and alcohol companies are turning to wellness marketing to increase sales.