Women who drink light-to-moderately during pregnancy have been observed to have lower risk of unfavourable pregnancy outcomes than abstainers. This has been suggested to be a result of bias. In a pooled sample, including 193 747 live-born singletons from nine European cohorts, we examined the associations between light-to-moderate drinking and preterm birth, birth weight, and small-for-gestational age in term born children (term SGA). To address potential sources of bias, we compared the associations from the total sample with a sub-sample restricted to first-time pregnant women who conceived within six months of trying, and examined whether the associations varied across calendar time. In the total sample, drinking up to around six drinks per week as compared to abstaining was associated with lower risk of preterm birth, whereas no significant associations were found for birth weight or term SGA. Drinking six or more drinks per week was associated with lower birth weight and higher risk of term SGA, but no increased risk of preterm birth. The analyses restricted to women without reproductive experience revealed similar results. Before 2000 approximately half of pregnant women drank alcohol. This decreased to 39% in 2000-2004, and 14% in 2005-2011. Before 2000, every additional drink was associated with reduced mean birth weight, whereas in 2005-2011, the mean birth weight increased with increasing intake. The period-specific associations between low-to-moderate drinking and birth weight, which also were observed for term SGA, are indicative of bias. It is impossible to distinguish if the bias is attributable to unmeasured confounding, which change over time or cohort heterogeneity.

Published in Pregnant Women

An association between heavy alcohol drinking and gastric cancer risk has been recently reported, but the issue is still open to discussion and quantification. We investigated the role of alcohol drinking on gastric cancer risk in the "Stomach cancer Pooling (StoP) Project," a consortium of epidemiological studies. A total of 9,669 cases and 25,336 controls from 20 studies from Europe, Asia and North America were included. We estimated summary odds-ratios (ORs) and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) by pooling study-specific ORs using random-effects meta-regression models. Compared with abstainers, drinkers of up to 4 drinks/day of alcohol had no increase in gastric cancer risk, while the ORs were 1.26 (95% CI, 1.08-1.48) for heavy (>4 to 6 drinks/day) and 1.48 (95% CI 1.29-1.70) for very heavy (>6 drinks/day) drinkers. The risk for drinkers of >4 drinks/day was higher in never smokers (OR 1.87, 95% CI 1.35-2.58) as compared with current smokers (OR 1.14, 95% CI 0.93-1.40). Somewhat stronger associations emerged with heavy drinking in cardia (OR 1.61, 95% CI 1.11-2.34) than in non-cardia (OR 1.28, 95% CI 1.13-1.45) gastric cancers, and in intestinal-type (OR 1.54, 95% CI 1.20-1.97) than in diffuse-type (OR 1.29, 95% CI 1.05-1.58) cancers. The association was similar in strata of H. pylori infected (OR = 1.52, 95% CI 1.16-2.00) and noninfected subjects (OR = 1.69, 95% CI 0.95-3.01). Our collaborative pooled-analysis provides definite, more precise quantitative evidence than previously available of an association between heavy alcohol drinking and gastric cancer risk.

Published in Cancer

BACKGROUND: Epidemiologic studies have found that moderate alcohol consumption was associated with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) incidence. Nevertheless, whether the drinking pattern is associated with CHD incidence still remains inconclusive.

METHODS: We included 8,469 Chinese men aged 45-81 years, who were free of CHD, stroke, or cancer at baseline from Dongfeng-Tongji cohort. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect information on alcohol consumption and other covariates. Cox proportional hazard regression model was applied to estimate the multivariable-adjusted hazard rations (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs).

RESULTS: During an average of 4.36 years of follow-up, we identified 959 incident CHD events. Compared with non-drinkers, the multivariable-adjusted HR (95% CI) of CHD incidence was 0.84 (0.71-0.98) in current drinkers. With respect to drinking pattern, men who consumed 20.01-40 grams ethanol once a time had a 24% lower risk of incident CHD (HR = 0.76, 95% CI = 0.62, 0.94) compared with non-drinkers. The adjusted HRs (95% CI) of CHD incidence were 0.80 (0.65, 0.99), 1.02 (0.84, 1.22), and 0.75 (0.59-0.96) in subjects who consumed 0.01-10, 10.01-30, and > 30 grams ethanol per day, respectively. Participants who consumed 20.01-40 grams ethanol per time with less than 5 times per week had the lowest risk of CHD incidence (HR = 0.73, 95% CI = 0.52, 0.96). No significant associations were observed between type or frequency of alcohol consumption and CHD incidence.

CONCLUSIONS: Drinking was associated with a lower risk of CHD incidence in middle-aged and older Chinese men and moderate quantity of ethanol amounts once a time with lower frequency could been considered as a healthy drinking pattern, which might modify the relationship between alcohol consumption and incident CHD.

Published in Cardiovascular System

OBJECTIVES: Alcohol is a significant source of dietary calories and is a contributor to obesity. Industry pledges to provide calorie information to consumers have been cited as reasons for not introducing mandatory ingredient labelling. As part of the Public Health Responsibility Deal (RD) in England, alcohol retailers and producers committed to providing consumers with information on the calorie content of alcoholic drinks. This study examines what was achieved following this commitment and considers the implications for current industry commitments to provide information on alcohol calories.

STUDY DESIGN: Analysis of RD pledge delivery plans and progress reports. Assessment of calorie information in supermarkets and in online stores.

METHODS: (i) Analysis of the content of pledge delivery plans and annual progress reports of RD signatories to determine what action they had committed to, and had taken, to provide calorie information. (ii) Analysis of the availability of calorie information on product labels; in UK supermarkets; and on online shopping sites and websites.

RESULTS: No information was provided in any of 55 stores chosen to represent all the main UK supermarkets. Calorie information was not routinely provided on supermarkets' websites, or on product labels.

CONCLUSIONS: One of the stated purposes of the RD was to provide consumers with the information to make informed health-related choices, including providing information on the calorie content of alcoholic drinks. This study indicates that this did not take place to any significant extent. The voluntary implementation of alcohol calorie labelling by industry needs to continue to be carefully monitored to determine whether and how it is done.

Published in General Health
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