How Widespread Is Underage Drinking?

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Apr 16, 2024 - 01:20 AM

Alcohol abuse is a behavioral risk factor connected to 2.4 million deaths in 2019, according to the latest Global Burden of Disease study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation of the University of Washington.

While consuming large quantities of alcohol over a long period might not necessarily lead to a shortened lifespan, it hampers cognitive and motor function in its consumers.

Additionally, as Statista's Florian Zandt reports, multiple studies suggest that it also prevents proper brain development when abused by adolescents and young adults since the brain is among the last organs of the body to mature. Nevertheless, alcohol use and even heavy and binge drinking are especially common among U.S. residents aged 21 to 25, as the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows.

Statista's chart below, based on the results of this study, shows that the share of respondents using alcohol or participating in binge and heavy drinking in the last month from when they were surveyed is significantly higher for adults between 21 and 25 than for those aged 26 or older.

61 percent of young adults consumed alcohol, while almost ten percent drank four to five drinks in a short timespan every day for at least five days in a row. The sudden spike between the age cohorts of 18 to 20 and 21 to 25 can be explained by the United States' legal drinking age being set at 21.

What's harder to explain is that three percent of the respondents aged 12 to 17 participate in binge alcohol use.

Infographic: How Widespread Is Underage Drinking? | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism suggests that parents and teachers can play a decisive role in preventing children from abusing alcohol.

The results of a comprehensive study published in the journal Alcohol, Clinical and Experimental Research analyzing if parents allowing their 14-year-old children to drink leads to unhealthy drinking behaviors are clear:

"Adolescents who were allowed to drink were more likely to have transitioned quickly from their first drink to consuming 5 or more drinks at one time and to drinking heavily 3 or more times in the past year", say the study's authors in their conclusion.

"Given well-documented harms of adolescent heavy drinking, these results do not support the idea that parents allowing children to drink alcohol inoculates them against alcohol misuse."