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Friday, May 13, 2016

Asian American Alcohol Abuse

alcohol abuse
The 2010 United States Census reported that there were a total of 17,320,856 Asian Americans—making up 5.6 percent of the total American population. A review of studies suggests that Asian Americans born in the United States were more likely to engage in problematic drinking, compared to those born in Asia, NBC News reports. In fact, heavy drinking has been steadily rising over the years among the demographic, possibly being the result of U.S.-born Asian Americans adopting the values and beliefs of the more individualistic world views of Americans. The research was published in Alcohol Research Current Reviews.

While there is limited research on drinking patterns of Asian Americans and such studies have a tendency of pooling all Asian Americans together, the review of studies indicated that the prevalence of alcohol abuse among young adult Asian Americans (18 to 25) rose from .74 percent in 1991 to 3.89 percent in 2002, according to the article. Large studies on Asian Americans are somewhat unreliable because of homogenous aggregation, which usually miss a number of important factors, including:
  • Variations Among Asian Sub-Groups
  • Ethnic Identity
  • Generational Status
“The population tends to be overlooked given the model minority stereotype,” said lead author Derek Iwamoto of the University of Maryland, College Park. “A lot of times larger national studies aggregate Asian Americans all together, meaning that they aggregate first, second, and third generations … it really pulls the averages down for Asian Americans.”

Iwamoto points out those genetic factors could have a hand in alcohol abuse among Asian Americans, the article reports. The demographic can be impacted by two genetic factors, most commonly present in Asians. Subgroups from East Asia often times experience negative reactions of alcohol intolerance. It is factor that is seen in Native Americans as well.

“Some Asian Americans may not engage in that high-risk drinking, but if they are allergic to alcohol … they might become drunk or intoxicated after drinking three beers versus someone who does not have that genetic makeup,” Iwamoto notes.

While alcohol abuse is on the rise among the Asian American demographic, it is worth pointing out that they have historically reported lower rates of alcohol misuse, compared to other demographics in the United States.

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