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

BACKGROUND: Several studies have investigated the predictors of alcohol consumption behavior among adolescents and young adults. However, the body of evidence about the relationship between in particular psychological factors and alcohol consumption among individuals in the second half of life is still limited. Hence, we aimed at identifying factors associated with alcohol consumption among individuals aged 40 and above, especially focusing on psychological correlates.

METHODS: Data were derived from a population-based sample of community-dwelling individuals aged 40 to 95 years (n = 7820) in Germany. Alcohol consumption was rated as 'never' (never drinkers), 'rarer than once a month', 'one to three times a month', 'once a week', 'several times a week' (occasional drinkers), and 'daily' (daily drinkers). Socio-economic factors, the illness level and physical activity were considered as possible determinants of alcohol consumption. In addition, positive and negative affect, life satisfaction, optimism, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and self-regulation were included as psychological factors. Multinomial regressions were used to identify factors associated with drinking behavior.

RESULTS: 12.0% of the individuals were daily drinkers, 76.5% were occasional drinkers, and 11.5% of the individuals never drank alcohol. After adjusting for various potential confounders, multinomial logistic regressions revealed that, compared with never drinking, occasional and daily drinking were positively associated with a decreased loneliness, a higher life satisfaction, a higher positive affect, a higher optimism, a higher self-efficacy (occasional drinkers), a higher self-esteem, and less perceived stress. In addition, occasional and daily drinking were positively associated with less physical illnesses, male gender, and income as compared with never drinking.

CONCLUSIONS: The current study extends the existing literature on alcohol consumption behavior by new insights of correlates of drinking behavior among individuals in the second half of life. Since interventions are available to address this risk factor, this might help to identify individuals with increased alcohol consumption.

Published in Drinking Patterns

It is not clear whether alcohol consumption is associated with lung cancer risk. The relationship is likely confounded by smoking, complicating the interpretation of previous studies. We examined the association of alcohol consumption and lung cancer risk in a large pooled international sample, minimizing potential confounding of tobacco consumption by restricting analyses to never smokers. Our study included 22 case-control and cohort studies with a total of 2548 never-smoking lung cancer patients and 9362 never-smoking controls from North America, Europe and Asia within the International Lung Cancer Consortium (ILCCO) and SYNERGY Consortium. Alcohol consumption was categorized into amounts consumed (grams per day) and also modelled as a continuous variable using restricted cubic splines for potential non-linearity. Analyses by histologic sub-type were included. Associations by type of alcohol consumed (wine, beer and liquor) were also investigated. Alcohol consumption was inversely associated with lung cancer risk with evidence most strongly supporting lower risk for light and moderate drinkers relative to non-drinkers (>0-4.9g per day: OR=0.80, 95% CI=0.70-0.90; 5-9.9g per day: OR=0.82, 95% CI=0.69-0.99; 10-19.9g per day: OR=0.79, 95% CI=0.65-0.96). Inverse associations were found for consumption of wine and liquor, but not beer. The results indicate that alcohol consumption is inversely associated with lung cancer risk, particularly among subjects with low to moderate consumption levels, and among wine and liquor drinkers, but not beer drinkers. Although our results should have no relevant bias from the confounding effect of smoking we cannot preclude that confounding by other factors contributed to the observed associations. Confounding in relation to the non-drinker reference category may be of particular importance.

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Published in Cancer

BACKGROUND/AIMS: An appreciation of the drinking patterns of population subgroups may usefully inform tailored interventions. For this purpose, research has highlighted a need to better describe the drinking behaviour of UK women. This study aims to characterise the purchasing and consumption behaviour of female heavy, harmed, drinkers in contact with Scottish health services in two cities and to explore the factors that influence the link to harm.

METHODS: Mixed methods study involving cross-sectional survey questionnaires and one-to-one interviews (5). The questionnaires documented (1) demographic data (including derived deprivation score), last week's (or 'typical' weekly) consumption (type, brand, volume, price, place of purchase), self-reported illnesses, and (2) Alcohol-Related Problem Questionnaire score. A total of 181 patients with serious health problems linked to alcohol were recruited within National Health Service (NHS) hospital clinics (in- and outpatient settings), in two Scottish cities during 2012.

RESULTS: Median consumption was 157.6 UK units for the recorded week, with almost exclusive purchase from 'off-sale' retail outlets. Preferred drinks were white cider, vodka and white wine. Increasing problems was positively associated with drinking more in the week, being younger and belonging to Glasgow.

CONCLUSION: For Scottish women, the current definition of 'harmful' consumption likely captures a fourfold variation in alcohol intake, with gender differences less apparent. While current alcohol-related harm is positively associated with dose and being younger, there is clear evidence of an influence of the less tangible 'Glasgow effect'. Future harm concerns are warranted by data relating to pattern, alcohol dose and cigarette use.

Published in Drinking Patterns
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