College Binge Drinking

Alcohol abuse is considered the most significant public health problem facing college students in the United States. It is estimated that more than 500,000 injuries and 70,000 cases of sexual assault a year result from alcohol abuse among students, and more than 1,400 students die each year as a result of their injuries. Two out of every five students report an episode of binge drinking—which is usually defined as five or more drinks in a row—in any given two-week period. During the 1990s, as government and health organizations be gan to recognize the magnitude of the problem, the U.S. Surgeon General set a goal of reducing binge drinking by 50 percent by the year 2010, and colleges sharply increased alcohol education programs and penalties for excessive or underage drinking. Nevertheless, the rate of binge drinking on college campuses remained virtually unchanged between 1993 and 2001, the year of the last comprehensive study.

—Paula Kepos creas. Alcohol also inhibits the absorption of nutrients into the blood. This decrease in digestion and absorption over a long period of time can lead to malnutrition.

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