Teens, young adults and drinking. 

It’s harmless fun and a normal part of growing up, right?

So we shouldn’t worry too much about it, right?

Well if you need another reason to take teen drinking seriously here’s one. Binge drinking between the ages of 18-25 may increase risk of heart disease later in life. According to a study by Shane A. Phillips, PT, Ph.D. recently published in the Journal of the American Collegeof Cardiology, “Regular binge drinking is one of the most serious public health problems confronting our college campuses… and there may be serious cardiovascular consequences in young adults.” Apparently binge drinking causes changes in two cell types that control blood flow. These changes were equivalent to those of a lifelong heavy drinker, and are a precursor for developing heart disease.

For the health of our kids now (and decades down the road) we need to take a serious look at our attitudes about partying and binge drinking. Our kids count on us to set the limits to keep them safe. That’s easy when they’re little and the rules are simple, “Look both ways before you cross the street.” The issues get more complicated and confusing as they get older…and they challenge the rules seemingly indefatigably. I know that the possibility of a heart attack decades from now won’t deter a kid from drinking (at 20, I would have rolled my eyes if my mom had told me this.) But it is a reminder to me that youthful risky behaviors can have unforeseen and life-changing consequences,so it’s important that I keep talking with my kids about alcohol and drug abuse (and accept their inevitable eye rolling with good humor.)