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College Women Binge Drinking More Than Men?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BOSTON)  -- Binge drinking has become a bigger problem for college females than for their male classmates, according to new research.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest says 44 percent of students at four-year colleges at some time drink alcohol at binge levels. But a new study from Harvard Medical School finds female students are more likely to exceed weekly alcohol limits than males.

For the study, researchers at Harvard's Center for Addiction looked at nearly a thousand students at three New England universities during their first year at college. They found the women exceeded their recommended limit of no more than three drinks a day and seven per week more frequently than the men outdid their limit. For males, the recommendation is no more than four drinks a day and seven per week. In fact, women were 1.57 times as likely as men to exceed weekly limits, and exceeded those limits for 15 percent of the weeks.  For men, it was 12 percent of the weeks.

And while the men's drinking declined over time, the women's drinking did not.

The study authors warn that women who do not grow out of this drinking behavior after they leave college increase their risk for liver disease and breast cancer as they age.

This study's findings have been published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

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