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Only One in Six Adults Discuss Alcohol Use With Physician

Overall prevalence 15.7 percent; ranges from 8.7 percent in Kansas to 25.5 percent in D.C.

THURSDAY, Jan. 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The overall prevalence of ever discussing alcohol use with a health professional is 15.7 percent for U.S. adults, according to a report published in the Jan. 7 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Lela R. McKnight-Eily, Ph.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues examined the prevalence of patient-reported communication with a health professional about alcohol. The prevalence was assessed among 166,753 U.S. adults aged 18 years and older. The authors note that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends alcohol screening and brief intervention (ASBI) for adults to address excessive alcohol use.

The researchers found that the overall prevalence of ever discussing alcohol use with a health professional was 15.7 percent, with higher prevalence among current drinkers (17.4 percent) and binge drinkers (25.4 percent). Prevalence was highest (27.9 percent) among those aged 18 to 24 years. Only 13.4 and 34.9 percent, respectively, of binge drinkers and those who reported binge drinking ≥10 times in the past month had ever discussed alcohol with a health professional. Estimates of prevalence of communication about alcohol ranged from 8.7 percent in Kansas to 25.5 percent in Washington, D.C.

"Only one of six U.S. adults, including binge drinkers, reported ever discussing alcohol consumption with a health professional, despite public health efforts to increase ASBI implementation," the authors write.

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