BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Studies that report the relationship between alcohol consumption and disease risk have predominantly operationalized drinking according to a single baseline measure. The resulting assumption of longitudinal stability may be simplistic and complicate interpretation of risk estimates. This study aims to describe changes to the volume of consumption during the adult life-course according to baseline categories of drinking. DESIGN: A prospective observational study.

SETTING: United Kingdom.

PARTICIPANTS: A cohort of British civil servants totalling 6838 men and 3372 women aged 34-55 years at baseline, followed for a mean 19.1 (standard deviation = 9.5) years.

MEASUREMENTS: The volume of weekly alcohol consumption was estimated from data concerning the frequency and number of drinks consumed. Baseline categories were defined: non-current drinkers, infrequent drinkers, 0.1-50.0 g/week, 50.1-100.0 g/week, 100.1-150.0 g/week, 150.1-250.0 g/week and >250.0 g/week. For women, the highest category was defined as > 100.0 g/week. Baseline frequency was derived as 'daily or almost daily' and 'not daily or almost daily'. Trajectories were estimated within baseline categories using growth curve models.

FINDINGS: Trajectories differed between men and women, but were relatively stable within light-to-moderate categories of baseline consumption. Drinking was least stable within the highest categories of baseline consumption (men: > 250.0 g/week; women: > 100.0 g/week), declining by 47.0 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 40.7, 53.2] and 16.8 g/week (95% CI = 12.6, 21.0), respectively, per 10-year increase in age. These declines were not a consequence of sudden transitions to complete abstention. Rates of decline appear greatest in older age, with trajectories converging toward moderate volumes.

CONCLUSION: Among UK civil servants, consumption within baseline drinking categories is generally stable during the life-course, except among heavier baseline drinkers, for whom intakes decline with increasing age. This shift does not appear to be driven by transitions to non-drinking. Cohorts of older people may be at particular risk of misclassifying former heavy drinkers as moderate consumers of alcohol.

Published in General Health

BACKGROUND: There is little knowledge about the consumption of alcohol among Chinese and Norwegian older adults aged 65 years and over. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence and factors related to alcohol consumption among older adults in China and Norway.

METHODS: The Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey (CLHLS) data in 2008-2009 conducted in China and The Nord-Trondelag Health Study data in 2006-2008 (HUNT3) conducted in Norway were used. Mulitvariable logistic regression was used to test the factors related to alcohol consumption.

RESULTS: The prevalence of participants who drink alcohol in the Chinese and Norwegian sample were 19.88% and 46.2%, respectively. The weighted prevalence of participants with consumption of alcohol in the Chinese sample of women and men were 7.20% and 34.14%, respectively. In the Norwegian sample, the prevalence of consumption of alcohol were 43.31% and 65.35% for women and men, respectively. Factors such as younger age, higher level of education, living in urban areas, living with spouse or partner, and better health status were related to higher likelihood of alcohol consumption among Norwegian older women and men; while reported better health status and poorer life satisfaction were related to higher likelihood of alcohol consumption among Chinese. In addition, rural males and older females with higher level of education were more likely to consume alcohol.

CONCLUSION: The alcohol consumption patterns were quite different between China and Norway. Besides economic development levels and cultures in the two different countries, demographic characteristics, socioeconomic status, overall health status, and life satisfaction were associated with alcohol consumption as well.

Published in General Health

This research aimed to provide the first assessment of the contribution of alcohol to Australian adults' diets over time and determine if people reporting alcohol had higher total dietary energy intakes. Secondary analyses of cross-sectional national nutrition surveys from 1983, 1995, and 2011/12 for adults 18 years (n = 26,675) and over were conducted. Alcoholic beverage intake and diet were assessed using 24-h recalls. The proportion of participants reporting alcohol consumption declined over time and in 1983, 1995, and 2011/12 was 52.0%, 44.2%, and 39.8%, respectively, for men (p < 0.001) and 31.6%, 25.7%, and 25.7%, respectively, for women (p < 0.001). A decline in alcohol intake was seen between 1983 and 2012 for all subpopulations, except for women aged over 45 years, for whom alcohol intake increased. Energy intake was higher for participants reporting alcohol intake and the mean difference (SD) in energy intake for those reporting alcohol versus non-consumers was +1514 kJ (462) for men and +1227 kJ (424) for women. Consistent with apparent consumption data, reported alcohol intake for the total population decreased over time. As those reporting alcohol had much higher energy intakes than non-consumers, promoting alcohol intakes consistent with national recommendations may have important implications for the prevention of obesity, particularly for middle-aged women.

Published in General Health

BACKGROUND: Previous studies have revealed inconsistent findings regarding the association of light to moderate alcohol consumption with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer mortality.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to examine the association between alcohol consumption and risk of mortality from all causes, cancer, and CVD in U.S. adults. METHODS: Data were obtained by linking 13 waves of the National Health Interview Surveys (1997 to 2009) to the National Death Index records through December 31, 2011. A total of 333,247 participants >/=18 years of age were included. Self-reported alcohol consumption patterns were categorized into 6 groups: lifetime abstainers; lifetime infrequent drinkers; former drinkers; and current light, moderate, or heavy drinkers. Secondary exposure included participants' binge-drinking status. The main outcome was all-cause, cancer, or CVD mortality.

RESULTS: After a median follow-up of 8.2 years (2.7 million person-years), 34,754 participants died of all causes (including 8,947 CVD deaths and 8,427 cancer deaths). Compared with lifetime abstainers, those who were light or moderate alcohol consumers were at a reduced risk of mortality for all causes (light-hazard ratio [HR]: 0.79; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.76 to 0.82; moderate-HR: 0.78; 95% CI: 0.74 to 0.82) and CVD (light-HR: 0.74; 95% CI: 0.69 to 0.80; moderate-HR: 0.71; 95% CI: 0.64 to 0.78), respectively. In contrast, there was a significantly increased risk of mortality for all causes (HR: 1.11; 95% CI: 1.04 to 1.19) and cancer (HR: 1.27; 95% CI: 1.13 to 1.42) in adults with heavy alcohol consumption. Binge drinking >/=1 d/week was also associated with an increased risk of mortality for all causes (HR: 1.13; 95% CI: 1.04 to 1.23) and cancer (HR: 1.22; 95% CI: 1.05 to 1.41).

CONCLUSIONS: Light and moderate alcohol intake might have a protective effect on all-cause and CVD-specific mortality in U.S. adults. Heavy or binge drinking was associated with increased risk of all-cause and cancer-specific mortality.

Published in General Health
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The authors have taken reasonable care in ensuring the accuracy of the information herein at the time of publication and are not responsible for any errors or omissions. Read more on our disclaimer.