Tsk, Tsk, Girls: Ladies Are Drinking More Than They Should

Illustration for article titled Tsk, Tsk, Girls: Ladies Are Drinking More Than They Should

A new study shows that women are more likely to exceed their drinking limits than men. We're number one! Wait, there are negative consequences to drinking? Don't tell me what they are, I'm taking shots and going HAM right now.

Confession: I am not taking shots right now; I am nursing an irritating cold that might or might not be a product of a long Memorial Weekend of me surely exceeding the drinking limit for women. But I also took a shower in the pouring New York City rain over the weekend, so maybe that is why I am sick. The latter is most definitely not related to drinking. I promise. Point is, I was victim to having fun while drinking "in the moment", without considering the short-term and long-term consequences.

The recommended limit for alcoholic consumption established by the National Institutes of Alcoholic Abuse and Alcoholism for women is three drinks on a given day and no more than 7 beverages a week. The study also states that men should not drink more than four drinks on a single day and no more than 14 a week.


Drinking beyond these limits can put women in serious risk for breast cancer or liver disease, as well as long-term memory loss. Despite these scary risks, a new study from the Massachusetts General Hospital's Center for Addiction Medicine found that college women are 5o percent more likely to exceed these limits than men. While women might not be pounding more than three drinks a day, they are most definitely consuming more than seven drinks a week.

What's worse is that women actually drink more weekly or maintain the same level of dangerous drinking habits over the years. Even after the Freshman craze in college, and even after college in general, "women may fail to mature out of this potentially harmful drinking pattern." Men on the other hand show a much higher likelihood of reducing their alcohol consumption over the years. But men also do not have a Sex and the City-ian lifestyle to follow. Although post-college women are not necessarily binge drinking, the few cocktails in the weekend and glasses of wine on the weekdays put us over the recommended limit.

This trend is highly attributed to a lack of knowledge and awareness of how our drinking habits affect our health. We've all taken some class in high school that introduces us to the basic limits, but college always manages to challenge the limits. And then, once the alcohol has done its damage, we forget what the limit is altogether.

While it is not fair that men get to have a drinking limit that is twice as much as our weekly limit (and here's my middle finger to biology), we cannot deny that drinking safely and moderately is the smartest thing to do. As women, we can keep up — and beat — dudes in our jobs, sports, whatever. Just not booze. And that's okay. Tonight I'll take a shot of water in honor of that.


College women exceed their alcohol limits more than men, study finds [Boston Globe]

Photo by Rick Gershon/Getty Images

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Well I'm effing old and I still exceed 7 drinks a week most weeks. And here's what may be most interesting to others about this. I am very active, I am on a couple different sports teams and I run a lot of races, and the people I know who do these things with me... we all drink a lot. We work hard, play hard. After we race, or have a game, we drink. We meet up at beerfests and stuff like that on a fairly regular basis. We have team meetings and we drink. The ages on my teams run from early 20s to late 50s. I feel like the people I know who exercise the most also drink the most.

And me personally, I'm the ripe old age of 43 and my cholesterol and blood pressure and all other physical indicators are better than they have ever been. (I was very sedentary in my 20s and subsisted on fast food but i worked nights and weekends and went to school full time so didn't have time for all this fun I'm having now. I was just surviving then.)