2.3M Hoosiers are binge drinkers, Ball State University study finds

Binge drinking increases with income

MUNCIE, Ind. - A recent Ball State University study finds nearly 35 percent of adults in Indiana take part in binge drinking.

The study, by Ball State's Global Health Institute, found that one in five 18- to 21-year-olds binge drink in Indiana, and it determined that the amount of binge drinking goes up as income increases.

The study defines binge drinking as four or more drinks per occasion for women and five or more for men.

To college students RTV6 spoke with, the study's findings weren't shocking.

"It's dangerous to know that statistic, but it's normal," said one student.

"It's not shocking because we know everybody does that," another student told RTV6. "I think it's like more than one in five people."

The study also found that 38 percent of Hoosiers between the ages of 22 and 25 binge drink.

"I'm very surprised with the 22 and older being higher, because I feel like once you hit 21, you kind of slow down, because I know we have," said Ball State Student Chad Galloway.

Economics professor and director of the GHI, Kerry Anne McGeary, said the finding that 38 percent of adults 22 to 25 binge drink in Indiana is substantial but not surprising.

"As an economist, that's not a surprise at all because it's a huge income component there," McGeary said. "So, once the students graduate, get their own income, you see the numbers rise because they're able to purchase the alcohol."

McGeary said more males report either heavy or binge drinking compared to females in Indiana. 

She also pointed out that a number of Hoosiers choose to abstain from alcohol.

"Out of all the health risk behaviors, Indiana in terms of drinking behaviors and binge drinking, we don't look very different than the United States on average, whereas with smoking and obesity rates, we are much higher than the national average," she said.

But some college students RTV6 talked to said they are a little alarmed to learn that roughly 35 percent of adults in Indiana are binge drinkers and nearly 12 percent say they drink heavily.

"That is more surprising, because I feel like once you get to a certain age, it's not too acceptable," said Ball State Student Joel Genth.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of the alcohol consumed by adults in the U.S. is in the form of binge drinks.

Right now in Indiana, 2.3 million adults report being a binge drinker.

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