Nightly News   |  January 08, 2013

Most likely to binge drink: young women

Binge drinking, defined as having four or more drinks on one occasion, is becoming a potentially dangerous and often overlooked health problem for women. NBC’s Rehema Ellis reports.

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>>> back now a disturbing new look at at growing problem of binge drinking in our country today. the centers for disease control warn excessive drinking is a problem especially for women in the united states and results in the death of some 23,000 women and girls every year. our report from rehema ellis.

>> reporter: in movies, tv and music, it's art imitating life.

>> you smell like booze.

>> reporter: according to a new report by the cdc, younger women aren't just drinking in large numbers, the drinking is becoming potentially dangerous, and is often overlooked as a health problem for women who respond to alcohol differently than men.

>> some of these differences include females being more susceptible to the effect of alcohol on risk of cancer, the effects of alcohol on the liver, females are more susceptible to the effects of alcohol on the brain in terms of brain damage .

>> reporter: binge drinking is defined as at least four drinks at one occasion, something young women say they see all the time.

>> women may be like to let loose and have fun.

>> they want to go and drink and relax.

>> reporter: in a survey of 278,000 women 18 and older nearly 14 million women binge drink about three times a month, that's one in eight women . among 7,500 high school girls the report finds one in five report binge drinking . who is most likely to binge drink ? white and hispanic women between 18 and 34 years old, and those with household incomes of $75,000 or more. why is it happening? experts say it could be pressure.

>> one of the things that we might be seeing is a coping mechanism in binge drinking , and alcohol is being something to be stress relief.

>> reporter: experts say more education is needed to help young women make wise choices about whether they should drink alcohol and how much. rehema ellis, nbc news, new york.