This study examined the association between moderate drinking at age 16 (adolescence) and alcohol consumption at age 26 (young adulthood), whilst controlling for possible confounding effects at the individual and family level (assessed at birth and age 10). Using the British Cohort Study (BCS70), 6515 respondents provided data on their adolescent alcohol consumption and other behaviours. Of these, 4392 also completed the survey at age 26. Consumption patterns established in adolescence persisted, to a large degree, into early adulthood. Those adolescents who drank moderately in adolescence drank significantly less in adulthood than those adolescents who drank to heavy or hazardous levels. Implications for health promotion strategies and guidance are discussed.

Published in Drinking Patterns

OBJECTIVES: To quantify risk of overall cancer across all levels of alcohol consumption among women and men separately, with a focus on light to moderate drinking and never smokers; and assess the influence of drinking patterns on overall cancer risk.

DESIGN: Two prospective cohort studies.

SETTING: Health professionals in the United States.

PARTICIPANTS: 88 084 women and 47 881 men participating in the Nurses' Health Study (from 1980) and Health Professionals Follow-up Study (from 1986), followed until 2010.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Relative risks of cancer.

RESULTS: 19 269 and 7571 (excluding non-advanced prostate cancers) incident cancers were documented among women and men, respectively, over 3 144 853 person years. Compared with non-drinkers, light to moderate drinkers had relative risks of total cancer of 1.02 (95% confidence interval 0.98 to 1.06) and 1.04 (1.00 to 1.09; Ptrend=0.12) for alcohol intake of 0.1-4.9 and 5-14.9 g/day among women, respectively. Corresponding values for men were 1.03 (0.96 to 1.11), 1.05 (0.97 to 1.12), and 1.06 (0.98 to 1.15; Ptrend=0.31) for alcohol intake of 0.1-4.9, 5-14.9, and 15-29.9 g/day, respectively. Associations for light to moderate drinking and total cancer were similar among ever or never smokers, although alcohol consumption above moderate levels (in particular >/=30 g/day) was more strongly associated with risk of total cancer among ever smokers than never smokers. For a priori defined alcohol related cancers in men, risk was not appreciably increased for light and moderate drinkers who never smoked (Ptrend=0.18). However, for women, even an alcohol consumption of 5-14.9 g/day was associated with increased risk of alcohol related cancer (relative risk 1.13 (95% confidence interval 1.06 to 1.20)), driven by breast cancer. More frequent and heavy episodic drinking was not further associated with risk of total cancer after adjusting for total alcohol intake.

CONCLUSION: Light to moderate drinking is associated with minimally increased risk of overall cancer. For men who have never smoked, risk of alcohol related cancers is not appreciably increased for light and moderate drinking (up to two drinks per day). However, for women who have never smoked, risk of alcohol related cancers (mainly breast cancer) increases even within the range of up to one alcoholic drink a day.

Published in Cancer

No available abstract for this article. 

Published in Cancer

OBJECTIVE: Research on moderate drinking has focused on the average level of drinking. Recently, however, investigators have begun to consider the role of the pattern of drinking, particularly heavy episodic drinking, in mortality. The present study examined the combined roles of average drinking level (moderate vs. high) and drinking pattern (regular vs. heavy episodic) in 20-year total mortality among late-life drinkers.

METHOD: The sample comprised 1,121 adults ages 55-65 years. Alcohol consumption was assessed at baseline, and total mortality was indexed across 20 years. We used multiple logistic regression analyses controlling for a broad set of sociodemographic, behavioral, and health status covariates.

RESULTS: Among individuals whose high level of drinking placed them at risk, a heavy episodic drinking pattern did not increase mortality odds compared with a regular drinking pattern. Conversely, among individuals who engage in a moderate level of drinking, prior findings showed that a heavy episodic drinking pattern did increase mortality risk compared with a regular drinking pattern. Correspondingly, a high compared with a moderate drinking level increased mortality risk among individuals maintaining a regular drinking pattern, but not among individuals engaging in a heavy episodic drinking pattern, whose pattern of consumption had already placed them at risk.

CONCLUSIONS: Findings highlight that low-risk drinking requires that older adults drink low to moderate average levels of alcohol and avoid heavy episodic drinking. Heavy episodic drinking is frequent among late-middle-aged and older adults and needs to be addressed along with average consumption in understanding the health risks of late-life drinkers.

Published in Drinking Patterns

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