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Friday, February 25, 2011

Does Ethnic Background Influence Drinking Rates? Absolutely

In our research for the book Delaying that First Drink we learned  that people from different races and ethnic backgrounds have different usage and addiction patterns to alcohol. They vary depending upon age as well. 

Here is some of the evidence-based research from NIAAA and other sources:

Who Drinks Most Often? Alcohol use is most frequent in Whites (59.8 percent), lowest for Asian Americans (38.0 percent), and in the middle for Native Americans (47.8 percent), Hispanics (46.3 percent), and African Americans (43.8 percent). 

Who are the Heaviest Adult Drinkers? Native Americans are the heaviest drinkers of any ethnic group at just over 12 percent. Heavy drinking is defined as having five or more drinks on the same occasion for 5 or more of the past 30 days. Whites are next at 8 percent followed by Hispanics at 6 percent.. This data comes from 30-day estimates of drinking provided by the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Who are the Heaviest Young Drinkers? Among young adults ages 18-24, Whites and Native Americans had high rates of current drinking (77 and 70 percent, respectively). African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian young adults had lower rates of drinking at about 60 percent.

Who has the Highest Death Rate from Alcohol? Alcohol-related deaths are higher among African-American males than white males. Alcohol-related deaths rates for white Hispanic Latino men are double that for non-Hispanic white men. The leading cause of death among Native Americans is alcohol-related.

Who has Lower Abstinence Rates? Chinese Americans have higher rates of abstinence from alcohol, while Japanese Americans report higher rates of heavy drinking. With respect to adolescent drinking, African American teens drink less than non-Hispanic white and Latino teens.

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