Resveratrol, (3, 5, 4'-trihydroxystilbene) is a non-flavonoid polyphenol stilbene synthesized by plants when damaged by infectious diseases or ionizing radiation. Although present in more than seventy plant species, grapes and wine are the major dietary contributors of resveratrol, responsible for 98% of the daily intake. In 1992, Renaud and De Lorgeril first linked wine polyphenols, including resveratrol, to the potential health benefits ascribed to regular and moderate wine consumption (the so called "French Paradox"). Since then, resveratrol has received increasing scientific interest, leading to research on its biological actions, and to a large number of published papers, which have been collected and discussed in this review. The relatively low amounts of resveratrol measured in wine following moderate consumption, however, may be insufficient to mitigate biological damage, such as that due to oxidative stress. On this basis, the authors also highlight the importance of viticulture and the winemaking process to enhance resveratrol concentrations in wine in order to bolster potential health benefits.

Published in Phenolic compounds

BACKGROUND: Hazardous and harmful alcohol use and high blood pressure are central risk factors related to premature non-communicable disease (NCD) mortality worldwide. A reduction in the prevalence of both risk factors has been suggested as a route to reach the global NCD targets. This study aims to highlight that screening and interventions for hypertension and hazardous and harmful alcohol use in primary healthcare can contribute substantially to achieving the NCD targets.

METHODS: A consensus conference based on systematic reviews, meta-analyses, clinical guidelines, experimental studies, and statistical modelling which had been presented and discussed in five preparatory meetings, was undertaken. Specifically, we modelled changes in blood pressure distributions and potential lives saved for the five largest European countries if screening and appropriate intervention rates in primary healthcare settings were increased. Recommendations to handle alcohol-induced hypertension in primary healthcare settings were derived at the conference, and their degree of evidence was graded.

RESULTS: Screening and appropriate interventions for hazardous alcohol use and use disorders could lower blood pressure levels, but there is a lack in implementing these measures in European primary healthcare. Recommendations included (1) an increase in screening for hypertension (evidence grade: high), (2) an increase in screening and brief advice on hazardous and harmful drinking for people with newly detected hypertension by physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals (evidence grade: high), (3) the conduct of clinical management of less severe alcohol use disorders for incident people with hypertension in primary healthcare (evidence grade: moderate), and (4) screening for alcohol use in hypertension that is not well controlled (evidence grade: moderate). The first three measures were estimated to result in a decreased hypertension prevalence and hundreds of saved lives annually in the examined countries.

CONCLUSIONS: The implementation of the outlined recommendations could contribute to reducing the burden associated with hypertension and hazardous and harmful alcohol use and thus to achievement of the NCD targets. Implementation should be conducted in controlled settings with evaluation, including, but not limited to, economic evaluation.

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

'Responsible drinking' campaigns emerged in the early 1970s as a means of addressing hazardous drinking and its related consequences. While these were initially the product of public health agencies and health-related NGOs, they are increasingly being developed and disseminated by the alcohol industry. There is considerable debate as to whether industry-generated campaigns are designed to reduce hazardous drinking and related problems (as argued by their developers) or are designed to avoid government regulation or even to increase sales. The aim of the present study was to explore the way that recent industry-developed responsible drinking campaigns are perceived and interpreted by the general public. That is, do they promote low-risk drinking, promote risky drinking, or just muddy the waters. Two sub-studies were conducted. The first, a mall intercept study with 180 adults in two Australian shopping districts, explored participants' understanding of slogans/taglines. The second, an online survey with 480 Australian adults, explored understandings and interpretations of television/online commercials. The results of the two studies revealed diversity in participants' interpretation of the 'responsible drinking' advertisements. Terminology utilised in industry-developed advertisements was found to be ambiguous; for example, what age group was being referred to in the tagline 'Kids and alcohol don't mix', and whether 'Drink Properly' meant not drinking to excess or drinking in a way that made you look more sophisticated. In Study Two, the government-developed campaign ('Know when to say when') was clearly interpreted as warning against risky consumption of alcohol; whereas the industry-developed campaigns ('How to drink properly', 'Kids absorb your drinking', 'Friends are waiting') were interpreted to have a range of different meanings, including some seemingly unrelated to alcohol. These findings are consistent with the literature evaluating anti-smoking campaigns developed by the tobacco industry, and previous research showing that industry communications serve to soften public opinion and create the impression of a 'socially responsible' industry but are likely to be less effective than initiatives focused on the availability and promotion of alcohol.

Published in Drinking Patterns
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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.