INTRODUCTION: The benefits of alcohol consumption for cardiovascular and metabolic health may have been overstated due to inappropriate comparisons with abstainers and inadequate control for confounding factors including physical activity and mental health. We examined alcohol consumption and cardio-metabolic health in a cohort of young Australian adults overcoming these limitations.

METHODS: Cross-sectional data of a cohort of 2200 participants (age range 25-36 years) from the 2004-06 Childhood Determinants of Adult Health were used. Alcohol consumption was assessed from questionnaire and cardio-metabolic risk factors were measured in clinics. Linear and log binomial regression were used to examine total alcohol consumption (categories: none 0 g/day; light >0-10 g/day [reference]; moderate >10-20 g/day; heavy >20-30 g/day; very heavy >30 g/day) against dichotomous metabolic syndrome and its components: waist circumference, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose. Covariates included socio-demographics, smoking, diet, physical activity, fitness, depression and anxiety.

RESULTS: Of the 2220 participants (48% males, mean (standard deviation) age 29.5 (2.5) years), most were classified in the 'light drinking' group (54.2%), less were in the 'non-drinking' (13.2%), 'heavy' (5.2%) or 'very heavy' (5.5%) drinking groups. Only moderate drinking was associated with a significantly lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome (prevalence ratio = 0.64, p < 0.05) compared with light drinking. Higher levels of alcohol consumption were associated with higher high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (beta = 0.05, ptrend < 0.001). Very heavy compared to light drinkers had higher systolic (beta = 3.01 mm Hg, p < 0.01) and diastolic (beta = 2.07 mm Hg, p < 0.05) blood pressure.

CONCLUSION: Moderate alcohol consumption was associated with a lower prevalence of MetS, and more favourable levels of lipids but not glucose or blood pressure even when compared to light consumption and with account for a range of confounding factors.

Published in Cardiovascular System

Alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy are among the strongest and most preventable risk factors for adverse neonatal health outcomes, but few developmentally sensitive, population-based studies of this phenomenon have been conducted. To address this gap, the present study examined the prevalence and correlates of alcohol and tobacco use among pregnant adolescents (aged 12-17) and adults (aged 18-44) in the United States. Data were derived from the population-based National Survey of Drug Use and Health (80,498 adolescent and 152,043 adult women) between 2005 and 2014. Findings show disconcerting levels of past-month use among pregnant women with 11.5% of adolescent and 8.7% of adult women using alcohol, and 23.0% of adolescent and 14.9% of adult women using tobacco. Compared to their non-pregnant counterparts, pregnant adolescents were less likely to report past 30-day alcohol use (AOR=0.52, 95% CI=0.36-0.76), but more likely to report past 30-day tobacco use (AOR=2.20, 95% CI=1.53-3.18). Compared to their non-pregnant adult counterparts, pregnant adults were less likely to report using alcohol (AOR=0.06, 95% CI=0.05-0.07) and tobacco (AOR=0.47, 95% CI=0.43-0.52). Compared to pregnant abstainers, pregnant women reporting alcohol/tobacco use were more likely to have had a major depressive episode in the past 12 months, report criminal justice system involvement, and endorse comorbid alcohol/tobacco use. Given alcohol and tobacco's deleterious consequences during pregnancy, increased attention to reducing use is critical. Findings suggest that tobacco use is especially problematic for both adolescents and adults and is strongly linked with depression and criminal justice involvement, especially among adults.

Published in Pregnant Women

AIMS: To assess temporal trends of adolescent alcohol use in Finland from 2000 to 2011, according to socio-economic status and depression.

METHODS: Classroom self-administered questionnaires concerning health, health behaviours and school experiences were administered biennially from 2000-2001 to 2010-2011 to nationwide samples of 14- to 16-year-olds (n = 618,084). Alcohol use was measured as the frequencies of drinking and drunkenness. Socioeconomic status was measured using parental education and unemployment. Depression was measured using a Finnish modification of the Beck Depression Inventory. Cross-tabulations and a logistic regression analysis were applied.

RESULTS: Over the study period, rates of frequent drinking and frequent drunkenness decreased among both boys and girls. Low levels of parental education and unemployment as well as adolescent depression increased the likelihoods of frequent drinking and drunkenness. Unlike the general decreasing trend observed for alcohol use, the likelihoods of frequent drinking and drunkenness increased among adolescents who were depressed and had unemployed parents with low levels of education. The prevalence of frequent drunkenness was 75.8% among the boys in this group during 2008-2011, whereas the corresponding prevalence was 2.3% for boys without depression and with highly educated, employed parents. The corresponding figures for girls were 41.7% and 1.4%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: The overall decreasing trend in frequent alcohol use was not observed among socioeconomically deprived adolescents with depression. Thus, alcohol prevention programmes should treat these youth as special targets.

Published in Drinking Patterns

OBJECTIVE: To assess gender and age differences in hazardous drinking and to analyse and compare the factors associated with it in men versus women, and in 50 to 64-year-old versus >/=65-year-old people in Europe.

METHODS: Cross-sectional study with data from 65,955 people aged >/=50 years from 18 countries (SHARE project, 2011-2013). The outcome variable, hazardous drinking, was calculated using an adaptation of the AUDIT-C test. Several individual (sociodemographic, life-style and health factors) and contextual variables (country socioeconomic indicators and alcohol policies) were analysed. The prevalence of hazardous drinking was estimated by each exposure variable. To estimate associations, multilevel Poisson regression models with robust variance were fit, yielding prevalence ratios and their 95% confidence intervals (95%CI).

RESULTS: Overall, the prevalence of hazardous drinking was 21.5% (95%CI = 21.1-22.0), with substantial differences between countries. The proportion of hazardous drinking was higher in men than in women [26.3%(95%CI = 25.6-27.1); 17.5%(95%CI = 17.0-18.0), respectively], as well as in middle-aged people than in older people [23.6%(95%CI = 23.0-24.3); 19.2%(95%CI = 18.6-19.8), respectively]. At the individual level, associations were found for migrant background, marital status, educational level, tobacco smoking, depression and self-perceived health. At the contextual level, hazardous drinking was associated with gender inequalities in society (only in women) and alcohol advertising regulations (both genders).

CONCLUSIONS: One in five people aged >/=50 years in the countries studied is a hazardous drinker, with large differences by countries, gender and age group. Interventions and policies aimed at preventing or reducing alcohol use in this population should account for country, gender and age differences, as well as individual characteristics.

Copyright (c) 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

Published in Drinking Patterns
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