In 1990, the NIAAA issued guidelines that define low-risk drinking, which differ for both the sexes: no more than four drinks per day, and 14 drinks per week for men, and no more than three drinks per day, and seven drinks per week for women.
Bettina B. Hoeppner of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Addiction Medicine, an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School as well as corresponding author for the study, said “recommended drinking limits are lower for women than for men because research to date has found that women experience alcohol-related problems at lower levels of alcohol consumption than men.
In the study, Hoeppner and her colleagues asked 992 college students (575 females, 417 males) to report their daily drinking habits on a biweekly basis, using web-based surveys throughout their first year of college.
Hoeppner said “weekly cut-offs are recommended to prevent long-term harmful effects due to alcohol, such as liver disease and breast cancer. By exceeding weekly limits more often than men, women are putting themselves at increased risk for experiencing such long-term effects.”
She said that specifically, the findings examines college student drinkers, where adherence to weekly drinking limits has not been examined before.
Hoeppner added that generally, ‘binge drinking’ receives more attention when examining college student drinking, however, for long-term health, it is also important to examine the establishment of drinking patterns that may lead to long-term harmful effects, not just short-term effects.
Results are going to be published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.