BACKGROUND: We aimed to describe gender and region differences in the prevalence of binge drinking and in the association between binge drinking and well-being, among older adult Europeans. This is a cross-sectional study using the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) wave 4, conducted between 2011 and 2012, including 58 489 individuals aged 50 years or older. Sixteen European countries were grouped in four drinking culture regions: South, Central, North and East. We categorized drinking patterns as: never, former, no-binge and binge drinkers. We used the CASP-12 questionnaire to measure well-being. To assess the association between binge drinking and well-being, we fitted two-level mixed effects linear models. The highest percentage of binge drinkers was found in Central Europe (17.25% in men and 5.05% in women) and the lowest in Southern Europe (9.74% in men and 2.34% in women). Former, never and binge drinkers had a significant negative association with well-being as compared with no-binge drinkers. There was a significant interaction in this association by gender and region. Overall, associations were generally stronger in women and in Southern and Eastern Europe. The negative association of binge drinking with well-being was especially strong in Southern European women ( beta = -3.80, 95% CI: -5.16 to - 2.44, P value <0.001). In Southern and Eastern European countries the association between binge drinking and well-being is stronger, especially in women, compared with Northern and Central Europe. Cultural factors (such as tolerance to drunkenness) should be further explored.

Published in Drinking Patterns
Wednesday, 26 April 2017 14:30

Alcohol and cardiovascular disease

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Published in Cardiovascular System

Background and aims The 2011 UN Summit on Non-Communicable Disease failed to call for global action on alcohol marketing despite calls in the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Action Plan on Non-Communicable Diseases 2013-20 to restrict or ban alcohol advertising. In this paper we ask what it might take to match the global approach to tobacco enshrined in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), and suggest that public health advocates can learn from the development of the FCTC and the Code of Marketing on infant formula milks and the recent recommendations on restricting food marketing to children.

Methods Narrative review of qualitative accounts of the processes that created and monitor existing codes and treaties to restrict the marketing of consumer products, specifically breast milk substitutes, unhealthy foods and tobacco.

Findings The development of treaties and codes for market restrictions include: (i) evidence of a public health crisis; (ii) the cost of inaction; (iii) civil society advocacy; (iv) the building of capacity; (v) the management of conflicting interests in policy development; and (vi) the need to consider monitoring and accountability to ensure compliance.

Conclusion International public health treaties and codes provide an umbrella under which national governments can strengthen their own legislation, assisted by technical support from international agencies and non-governmental organizations. Three examples of international agreements, those for breast milk substitutes, unhealthy foods and tobacco, can provide lessons for the public health community to make progress on alcohol controls. Lessons include stronger alliances of advocates and health professionals and better tools and capacity to monitor and report current marketing practices and trends.

Drinking within recommended limits is highly prevalent in much of the world, and strong epidemiological associations exist between moderate alcohol consumption and risk of several major chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease, diabetes, and breast cancer. In many cases, plausible biological mediators for these associations have been identified in randomized trials, but gold standard evidence that moderate drinking causes or prevents any chronic disease remains elusive and important concerns about available evidence have been raised. Although long-term randomized trials to test the observed associations have been termed impossible, clinical investigators have now successfully completed randomized trials of complex nutritional interventions in a variety of settings, along with trials of alcohol consumption itself of up to 2 years duration. The successful completion of these trials suggests that objections to the execution of a full-scale, long-term clinical trial of moderate drinking on chronic disease are increasingly untenable. We present potential lessons learned for such a trial and discuss key features to maximize its feasibility and value.

Published in General Health
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