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Teen Girls Now Binge More Than Boys

Adolescent girls outdrink boys, says a new study—but the influence of older boys could be to blame.

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The number of girls who binge drink almost
doubled since 2004. Photo via

By Chrisanne Grise

11/13/12

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Teenage girls are now slightly more likely to binge drink than teenage boys, according to a new study from New Zealand. Researchers from Massey University’s Social and Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation public health unit (SHORE) surveyed 2,000 people in all age groups and found that 28% of 16 and 17-year-old girls consumed at least eight drinks in one sitting last year, compared to 25% of boys in the same age range—nearly double the results from a 2004 study of the same age range. Meanwhile, the consumption of alcoholic drinks by boys in the same age range has decreased since the 2004 survey. However, experts suggest that the actual findings may be more complex, since the girls' drinking may be impacted by associations with older boys. Another factor that could skew the results is ready-to-drink (RTD) alcopops, which are often targeted towards young women. In fact, a new report found that RTD's make up 70% of the alcohol intake of girls between 14 and 17, and that people who drink RTDs usually drink more in one session than those drinking other types of booze. Also, research shows that men are actually more likely to binge drink than women once they are over 18. Says SHORE director Professor Sally Casswell: "Overall, women are still drinking only about one-third of the alcohol available in New Zealand so men are still drinking by far and away the majority of alcohol.”

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