Report: Marines lead all services in binge drinking, sex partners

A new report from the RAND Corporation analyzed survey data from thousands of active-duty military members and found Marines are more likely to be heavy drinkers, use tobacco and engage in riskier sexual behavior than the sailors, soldiers and airmen of the other branches. RAND found that incidents of binge drinking and hazardous drinking among Marines was almost double what it was in the Air Force. The report defines binge drinking as having at least four or five drinks on one occasion. Hazardous drinking is defined as usage that suggests alcohol use disorder, commonly known as alcoholism. Nearly half of the Marines surveyed reported drinking habits that met the criteria for hazardous. The survey also revealed Marines were more likely to have had more than one sex partner over the course of one year and were less likely to use condoms with new partners. The data were gathered as part of the 2015 Health Related Behaviors Survey conducted across all branches of the military and the Coast Guard. Researchers spent two years combing through and making sense of the data, which included responses to numerous aspects of physical and mental health. In addition to questions about drug and alcohol use, respondents provided researchers with information on their eating and sleeping habits, sexual behavior as well as their diets and exercise. Almost 17,000 usable surveys were involved in the study.

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