Objective: To estimate the prevalence of alcohol consumption during pregnancy among the general population of Latin America and the Caribbean, by country, in 2012.

Methods: Three steps were taken: a comprehensive, systematic literature search; meta-analyses, assuming a random-effects model for countries with published studies; and regression modelling (data prediction) for countries with either no published studies or too few to obtain an estimate.

Results: Based on 24 existing studies, the pooled prevalence of alcohol consumption during pregnancy among the general population was estimated for Brazil (15.2%; 95% confidence interval [95%CI]: 10.4%-20.8%) and Mexico (1.2%; 95%CI: 0.0%-2.7%). The prevalence of alcohol consumption during pregnancy among the general population was predicted for 31 countries and ranged from 4.8% (95%CI: 4.2%-5.4%) in Cuba to 23.3% (95%CI: 20.1%-26.5%) in Grenada.

Conclusions: Greater prevention efforts and measures are needed in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to prevent pregnant women from consuming alcohol during pregnancy and decrease the rates of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Additional high quality studies on the prevalence of alcohol consumption during pregnancy in Latin America and the Caribbean are also needed.

Published in Pregnant Women

Meta-analyses of alcohol use, alcohol dosage and alcohol-related problems as risk factors for tuberculosis incidence were undertaken. The global alcohol-attributable tuberculosis burden of disease was also re-estimated.Systematic searches were conducted, reference lists were reviewed and expert consultations were held to identify studies. Cohort and case-control studies were included if there were no temporal violations of exposure and outcome. Risk relations (RRs) were pooled by using categorical and dose-response meta-analyses. The alcohol-attributable tuberculosis burden of disease was estimated by using alcohol-attributable fractions.36 of 1108 studies were included. RRs for alcohol use and alcohol-related problems were 1.35 (95% CI 1.09-1.68; I2: 83%) and 3.33 (95% CI 2.14-5.19; 87%), respectively. Concerning alcohol dosage, tuberculosis risk rose as ethanol intake increased, with evidence of a threshold effect. Alcohol consumption caused 22.02 incident cases (95% CI 19.70-40.77) and 2.35 deaths (95% CI 2.05-4.79) per 100 000 people from tuberculosis in 2014. Alcohol-attributable tuberculosis incidence increased between 2000 and 2014 in most high tuberculosis burden countries, whereas mortality decreased.Alcohol consumption was associated with an increased risk of tuberculosis in all meta-analyses. It was consequently a major contributor to the tuberculosis burden of disease.

Published in General Health

The aim of this analysis is to examine long-term trends in alcohol consumption and associations with lagged data on specific types of cancer mortality, and indicate policy implications. Data on per capita annual sales of pure alcohol; mortality for three alcohol-related cancers - larynx, esophageal, and lip, oral cavity, and pharynx; and per capita consumption of tobacco products were extracted at the country level. The Unobservable Components Model was used for this time-series analysis to examine the temporal association between alcohol consumption and cancer mortality, using lagged data, from 17 countries. Statistically significant associations were observed between alcohol sales and cancer mortality, in the majority of countries examined, which remained after controlling for tobacco use (P<0.05). Significant associations were observed in countries with increasing, decreasing, or stable trends in alcohol consumption and corresponding lagged trends in alcohol-related cancer mortality. Curtailing overall consumption has potential benefits in reducing a number of harms from alcohol, including cancer mortality. Future research and surveillance are needed to investigate, monitor, and quantify the impact of alcohol control policies on trends in cancer mortality.

Published in Cancer

BACKGROUND: Deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD), including coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke are expected to increase in Latin America. Moderate and regular alcohol consumption confers cardiovascular protection, while binge drinking increases risk. We estimated the effects of alcohol use on the number of annual CHD and stroke deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) in Argentina.

METHODS: Alcohol use data were obtained from a nationally representative survey (EnPreCosp 2011), and etiological effect sizes from meta-analyses of epidemiological studies. Cause-specific mortality rates were from the vital registration system.

RESULTS: There were 291,475 deaths in 2010 including 24,893 deaths from CHD and 15,717 from stroke. 62.7% of men and 38.7% of women reported drinking alcohol in the past year. All heavy drinkers (i.e. women who drank >20g/day and men who drank >40g/day of alcohol) met the definition of binge drinking and therefore did not benefit from cardioprotective effects. Alcohol drinking prevented 1,424 CHD deaths per year but caused 935 deaths from stroke (121 ischemic and 814 hemorrhagic), leading to 448 CVD deaths prevented (58.3% in men). Alcohol use was estimated to save 85,772 DALYs from CHD, but was responsible for 52,171 lost from stroke.

CONCLUSIONS: In Argentina, the cardioprotective effect of regular and moderate alcohol drinking is slightly larger than the harmful impact of binge drinking on CVD. However, considering global deleterious effects of alcohol in public health, policies to reduce binge drinking should be enforced, especially for young people. Studies are still needed to elucidate effects on cardiovascular health.

Published in Cardiovascular System
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