Binge Drinking Tied to Poorer Bone Health in Young Females

Findings seen among teen girls and young adult women who binge drink frequently.
Findings seen among teen girls and young adult women who binge drink frequently.

HealthDay News — Binge drinking in adolescence may prevent girls from reaching their peak bone mass (PBM), according to a study published online June 13 in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Joseph W. Labrie, PhD, from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and colleagues assessed the association between heavy episodic drinking (HED) and failure to reach PBM among 87 female college students. HED was defined as at least four drinks within two hours on 115 or more occasions since the start of high school. 

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The researchers found that frequent HED was associated with decreased vertebral bone mineral density (BMD), even when controlling for variables most commonly associated with bone health such as lean body mass, physical activity, age at menarche, smoking, and oral contraception use. There was no association between early HED initiation (beginning HED at ≤15 years of age) and BMD.

"Results suggest frequency of HED before reaching PBM, but not age at initiation, may be negatively related to skeletal health during young adulthood," the authors write. "These findings encourage research into the association between HED and BMD in late adolescence."

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