Trends in Alcohol Consumption Among Older Americans: National Health Interview Surveys, 1997 to 2014

BACKGROUND: The majority of U.S. older adults consume alcoholic beverages. The older population is projected to almost double by 2050. Substantially more drinkers are likely.

PURPOSE: To describe gender-specific trends (1997 to 2014) in prevalence of drinking status (lifetime abstention, former drinking, current drinking [including average volume], and binge drinking) among U.S. adults ages 60+ by age group and birth cohort.

METHODS: In the 1997 to 2014 National Health Interview Surveys, 65,303 respondents ages 60+ (31,803 men, 33,500 women) were current drinkers; 6,570 men and 1,737 women were binge drinkers. Prevalence estimates and standard errors were computed by age group (60+, 60 to 64, 65 to 69, 70 to 74, 75 to 79, 80+) and birth cohort (<1925, 1925 to 1935, 1936 to 1945, 1946 to 1954). Trends were examined using joinpoint regression and described as average annual percent change (AAPC; overall change 1997 to 2014) and annual percent change (APC; in-between infection points). Primary analyses were unadjusted. All analyses (unadjusted and adjusted for demographics/lifestyle) were weighted to produce nationally representative estimates. Statistical procedures accounted for the complex survey design.

RESULTS: Among men ages 60+, unadjusted prevalence of current drinking trended upward, on average, 0.7% per year (AAPC, p = 0.02); average volume and prevalence of binge drinking remained stable. Adjusted results were similar. Among women age 60+, unadjusted prevalence of current drinking trended upward, on average, 1.6% per year (AAPC, p < 0.0001), but average volume remained stable; prevalence of binge drinking increased, on average, 3.7% per year (AAPC, p < 0.0001). Adjusted results were similar. Trends varied by age group and birth cohort. Among men born 1946 to 1954, unadjusted prevalence of current drinking trended upward, on average, 2.4% per year (AAPC, p = 0.02); adjusted results were nonsignificant.

CONCLUSIONS: Our finding of upward trends in drinking among adults ages 60+, particularly women, suggests the importance of public health planning to meet future needs for alcohol-related programs.

Additional Info

  • Authors:

    Breslow,R.A.; Castle,I.P.; Chen,C.M.; Graubard,B.I.

  • Issue: Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2017 May;41(5):976-986. doi: 10.1111/acer.13365. Epub 2017 Mar 24.
  • Published Date: 2017/3/24
  • More Information:

    For more information about this abstract, please contact
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at the Deutsche Weinakademie GmbH

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