Alcoholic beverages have been consumed for thousands of years, attracting great human interest for social, personal, and religious occasions. In addition, they have long been debated to confer cardioprotective benefits. The French Paradox is an observation of a low prevalence of ischemic heart disease, with high intakes of saturated fat, a phenomenon accredited to the consumption of red wine. Although many epidemiological investigations have supported this view, others have attributed it to beer or spirits, with many suggesting that the drink type is not important. Although excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages is commonly regarded to be detrimental to cardiovascular health, there is a debate as to whether light-to-moderate intake is cardioprotective. Although there is extensive epidemiological support for this drinking pattern, a consensus has not been reached. On the basis of published work, we describe the composition of wine and the effects of constituent polyphenols on chronic cardiovascular diseases.

Published in General Health
Monday, 06 November 2017 14:33

Alcohol and head and neck cancer

In this article, we reviewed the association between alcohol drinking and head and neck cancer (HNC) and its subsites, using the available literature. Alcohol drinking is an established risk factor for HNC, and this association may be stronger among cancers of the oropharynx and hypopharynx than the oral cavity or larynx. In addition, higher alcohol consumption over a shorter period was more harmful than fewer alcohol consumption over a longer period, and the most frequently consumed alcoholic beverages in a population is likely to be associated with the highest risk of HNC in that population. The risk of HNC after >/= 20 years of alcohol cessation appear to be similar to the risk among never drinkers. The interaction between genetic polymorphisms related to alcohol metabolism and alcohol drinking on the risk of HNC has been noted, and the prevalence of these genetic polymorphisms in each population should be of concern. Finally, the association between alcohol drinking and the survival of individuals with HNC remains unclear, and mortality due to competing causes should be considered in future research to evaluate this association.

Published in Cancer

BACKGROUND: Limited research is available on children's alcohol-related knowledge and alcohol-related norms, yet a better comprehension of these factors may be crucial in explaining alcohol use later in life. This study provides insights into alcohol-related knowledge and alcohol-related norms in four- to six-year-olds.

METHODS: Participating children (N=329; 48.9% boys) were shown, on a tablet, 18 drawings depicting 72 male and female adults and/or children in various situations and were asked to indicate what the depicted persons drank by touching one of 12 depicted beverages (four alcoholic; eight non-alcoholic). Subsequently, the children were asked to name the beverages and indicate whether they contained alcohol.

RESULTS: Children identified 30.7% of the alcoholic beverages (i.e., beer, champagne, red wine, and white wine) correctly by name and they identified 41.6% of the alcoholic beverages correctly as alcohol-containing. Children more often correctly identified the name and non-alcoholic content of non-alcoholic beverages compared to the name and alcoholic content of alcoholic beverages. No sex differences emerged in the correct identification of the name and the content of both alcoholic beverages and non-alcoholic beverages. However, alcohol-related knowledge was age-graded. Alcoholic beverages were more often assigned to male adults (39.2%) than to female adults (24.8%) or to children (13.2%). Additionally, alcoholic beverages were more often assigned to adults depicted in the presumably more appropriate situations (e.g., 'when having an indoor party': 37.0%) than to those depicted in the presumably more inappropriate situations (e.g., 'when driving a car': 28.6%).

CONCLUSIONS: Four- to six-year-olds already have knowledge about alcohol and its norms in adult culture. Insight into the development of children's alcohol-related knowledge and alcohol-related norms over time is required to investigate the transitions to alcohol expectancies, drinking motives, and alcohol initiation often occurring in adolescence. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

Published in General Health

INTRODUCTION: Youth obesity rates in Canada continue to rise. In this study, we produced conservative estimates of the potential excess calories from alcohol use across different alcohol consumption patterns common among Canadian youth to assess whether alcohol use should be considered in future obesity prevention strategies.

METHODS: Using data from 10 144 Grade 12 students participating in the COMPASS study (2013/14), we estimated the number of calories consumed per year from alcohol consumption. Our estimates were based on three different generic types of alcoholic beverages, which were grouped according to average calorie content (vodka coolers; beer [5%]; and beer [4%], wine and liquor) across different frequencies of alcohol use and binge drinking.

RESULTS: Results indicated high potential caloric intake for students who binge drank, as well as high variability in the estimates for calories consumed based on common consumption patterns for the different beverage types. For instance, 27.2% of students binge drank once per month, meaning they consumed between 6000 and 13 200 calories in one year (equivalent to 0.78 - 1.71 kg of fat). For the 4.9% of students who binge drank twice per week, the total calories in one year would range from 52 000 to 114 400 (equivalent to 6.74 - 14.83 kg of fat).

CONCLUSION: Current recommendations for preventing youth obesity do not generally include any consideration of alcohol use. The high prevalence of frequent alcohol consumption and binge drinking by youth in this study and the substantial number of calories contained in alcoholic beverages suggest alcohol use among youth may warrant consideration in relation to youth obesity prevention.

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.