Washington: Young women, who regularly indulge in binge drinking during their teenage years, decrease their lower bone mass in spine later, a recent study has revealed.
According to a new study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 87 college women, who regularly binge drank in high school, had lower bone mass in the spine. That was true, even when researchers accounted for other factors that affect bone density - such as exercise, nutrition and smoking.
The findings suggest that poorer bone health can be added to the list of binge drinking risks for young women, said lead researcher Joseph LaBrie, PhD, a professor of psychology at Loyola Marymount University, in Los Angeles, who conducted the research with health and human sciences professor Hawley Almstedt, PhD, RDN.
There are well-known short-term risks, Dr LaBrie pointed out, such as alcohol poisoning, car accidents, poor academic performance and sexual assault. "This study identifies a potential lifetime consequence of binge drinking in young women," Dr LaBrie told the Science Daily.
The findings are based on female college students aged between 18 to 20, a time when bone mass should still be accruing. Women generally reach their peak bone density at the spine between the ages of 20 and 25, he noted.
The study participants answered questionnaires about certain lifestyle factors and underwent measurements of their bone density in the lumbar spine. When it came to alcohol, the women were asked to think back to high school and report how often they had binged, having four or more drinks within two hours.
"Frequent" meant they'd binged at least 115 times -- or nearly twice a month, on average,'' Dr Labrie said.Anything that keeps a young woman from reaching her peak bone mass, will probably raise her odds of developing osteoporosis years down the road, he warned.
"When we consider bone health, we always talk about things like exercise, calcium and vitamin D, and not smoking. We may also need to talk about avoiding binge drinking," he added.(UNI)