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1 Tsuga  Jan 6, 2015 12:19:49pm

Nope. According to the article:

-76% are 35-65 (let’s call that middle-aged just to keep things simple).

-Three out of four are male (let’s call that 75%, which is likely just an approximation).

-68% are white.

Assuming these factors are not correlated (i.e. men are not much more likely to be middle aged or white, for instance), then that works out to about 39% meeting all three criteria.

Better mathematical comprehension, please.

2 team_fukit  Jan 6, 2015 12:20:00pm

Sad story. I read a few years ago that this trend (along with increased DUI charges for this age demographic) happens because as people age their bodies process alcohol at a slower rate due to loss of lean mass and body water - roughly it takes an extra hour to process an ounce of alcohol per decade past 25, and being drunk creeps up much more quickly than it did when we were 21 by the time we’re 40. By the time we get 65, a drink a day should do it (on average).

Most people don’t know this, there should probably be more PSAs about the dangers of geriatric binge drinking

3 FemNaziBitch  Jan 6, 2015 1:11:55pm

re: #1 Tsuga

Nope. According to the article:

-76% are 35-65 (let’s call that middle-aged just to keep things simple).

-Three out of four are male (let’s call that 75%, which is likely just an approximation).

-68% are white.

Assuming these factors are not correlated (i.e. men are not much more likely to be middle aged or white, for instance), then that works out to about 39% meeting all three criteria.

Better mathematical comprehension, please.

The CDC report website for the report is here.

4 Sionainn  Jan 6, 2015 3:14:43pm

Glad I quit. I easily had about six drinks a night on work days and at least eight on weekends (spread out over the entire night which ended about 7:00 a.m.) I weighed 110-115 pounds.

5 Sionainn  Jan 6, 2015 3:15:32pm

My cousin died in his early 30s from hemorrhagic pancreatitis caused by drinking.

6 Tsuga  Jan 6, 2015 3:16:04pm

I went there again just to see if I missed anything, and again failed to see any statement that supports your headline. For those who want to see for themselves, the full report is at cdc.gov.

Just because most binge drinkers are middle-aged, most are male, and most are white does not mean that more than 50% fit into all three categories at the same time. That’s not a valid statistical interpretation. Maleness, whiteness, and middle-aged status are not strongly correlated in the U.S. (However, if these groups overlapped to a very large degree then your headline would be correct.)

What makes more sense is to look for disproportionate representation of binge drinking within various groups. In that respect males are very overrepresented - 2:1 relative to females. Whites, young adults, and the elderly are somewhat overrepresented. The middle-aged actually have a lower rate than the elderly or the young but are far more numerous (due in part to a 30-year age range for that group in the study) so have greater numbers of binge drinkers.

I have really enjoyed the pages you’ve posted here, and this is a very worthwhile subject, but the headline is simply not demonstrated by the documentation.

7 Mentis Fugit  Jan 6, 2015 8:32:09pm

re: #6 Tsuga

I went there again just to see if I missed anything, and again failed to see any statement that supports your headline.

(emphasis mine)
The headline is the Washington Post’s, not FNB’s. Take it up with Lenny Bernstein and his editors.

8 lostlakehiker  Jan 6, 2015 9:10:59pm

And this doesn’t count my acquaintance from college. We’d fallen out of communication, and for all I knew he was on track to the brilliant career that his talent foretold. But then I got the news—-he’d walked out into traffic in the very early hours of some god-forsaken weekday, not a bit sober. The guy who hit him never had a chance.

Alcohol is a boon in moderation, a bane in excess, and stealthy. It’s all too easy to get into a habit that then turns around and gets into you and maybe takes over.

It ought to be banned? We’ve been there and done that and it didn’t work out. So there’s no cure for it. What there is, is mitigation. There are programs here and there around the world that whistle up free sober rides home for the drunk who needs to be somewhere and figures to drive there. There are programs such as AA. There are friends who sometimes can, but mostly can’t, talk reason into the heavy drinker on their way to becoming an alcoholic. But in the end, it’s a free country.

We overeat, drink too much, smoke too much, drive carelessly or too fast, text while driving, put too much salt on our food, and in endless small ways hurry to the grave. And if none of it were allowed, we’d bang our heads against steel just to put ourselves out of the misery of being watched and nannied every step of the way through a boring life to a welcome grave.

9 FemNaziBitch  Jan 7, 2015 6:03:48am

re: #6 Tsuga

I went there again just to see if I missed anything, and again failed to see any statement that supports your headline. For those who want to see for themselves, the full report is at cdc.gov.

Just because most binge drinkers are middle-aged, most are male, and most are white does not mean that more than 50% fit into all three categories at the same time. That’s not a valid statistical interpretation. Maleness, whiteness, and middle-aged status are not strongly correlated in the U.S. (However, if these groups overlapped to a very large degree then your headline would be correct.)

What makes more sense is to look for disproportionate representation of binge drinking within various groups. In that respect males are very overrepresented - 2:1 relative to females. Whites, young adults, and the elderly are somewhat overrepresented. The middle-aged actually have a lower rate than the elderly or the young but are far more numerous (due in part to a 30-year age range for that group in the study) so have greater numbers of binge drinkers.

I have really enjoyed the pages you’ve posted here, and this is a very worthwhile subject, but the headline is simply not demonstrated by the documentation.

The same headline was used on my local news report last night. Anchorman basically read the article I posted.

10 Tsuga  Jan 7, 2015 7:38:46am

re: #9 FemNaziBitch

The same headline was used on my local news report last night. Anchorman basically read the article I posted.

Yes, people are copying the headline verbatim. OTOH, repeating a headline verbatim or even paraphrased does not absolve one of responsibility for accuracy and logic in posting that headline.

I may be coming across as picky over unimportant details when the immediate issue is lots of people dying, but a misunderstanding of statistics leading to false diagnoses of problems is something that will not be limited to unimportant mistakes. These kinds of habits carry over to other things and sooner or later will lead to mistakes with real consequences.


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