The study, of 87 college women, found that those 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 habits.
There are well-known short-term risks, LaBrie pointed out, such as alcohol poisoning, car accidents, poor academic performance and sexual assault.
The findings are based on female college students ages 18 to 20--a time when, LaBrie said, bone mass should still be accruing. Women generally reach their peak bone density at the spine between the ages of 20 and 25.
The team found, women who'd binged frequently since high school had lower bone mass than their peers. "Frequent" meant they'd binged at least 115 times or nearly twice a month, on average.
LaBrie noted that anything that keeps a young woman from reaching her peak bone mass will probably raise her odds of developing osteoporosis years down the road.
The study is published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
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