How teen binge drinking affects bone density

It keeps girls from reaching their peak bone mass

Teenage girls who binge drink about twice a month may fail to reach their peak bone mass, according to a small study of US college students.

Focusing on girls aged 18-20, the researchers have found that a history of regular binge drinking during the school years (having four or more drinks within two hours about twice a month on average) is associated with decreased vertebral bone mineral density.

These findings remain even after controlling for lean body mass, physical activity, age at menarche, smoking and oral contraceptive use.

However, the authors point out that it’s the frequency of binge drinking before reaching peak bone mass, not the age at initiation, that appears to be the most damaging in the long term.

They suggest that poorer bone health can be added to the list of binge drinking risks for young women.

Lead researcher Dr Joseph LaBrie, a professor

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