That CDC report which labeled Fargo the “drunkest city in America” has now become a late night punchline with David Letterman doing one of his signature top-ten lists.
Yeah, he’s apparently still doing those.
I talked a bit about this issue on-air today guest hosting on WDAY, and it would be nice if we used all this media attention to explore the sort of absurd standards the government has for problem drinking.
As I pointed out in a previous post, the CDC defines binge drinking as any man who has five or more standard drinks on one “occasion,” and any woman who has four or more drinks. It doesn’t matter if you have five drinks over five hours, or five drinks in a half an hour, that’s a binge by the government’s definition.
But not any reasonable person’s, I think.
The CDC also defines problem drinking for women who have more than one drink per day, or men who have more than two drinks per day. “Moderate alcohol consumption seems to offer protection against heart disease for some people,” reads this WebMD article. “Moderate drinking is defined as no more than one drink per day for women or lighter-weight persons and no more than two drinks per day for men.”
So, according to the CDC, 14 drinks a week for a man and 7 a week for a woman is on the cusp of problem drinking, but according to doctors it’s moderate drinking that has some health benefits.
It’s hard to take organizations like the CDC seriously when they pollute the public debate over a serious issue like alcohol consumption with junk science like this.