This research aimed to provide the first assessment of the contribution of alcohol to Australian adults' diets over time and determine if people reporting alcohol had higher total dietary energy intakes. Secondary analyses of cross-sectional national nutrition surveys from 1983, 1995, and 2011/12 for adults 18 years (n = 26,675) and over were conducted. Alcoholic beverage intake and diet were assessed using 24-h recalls. The proportion of participants reporting alcohol consumption declined over time and in 1983, 1995, and 2011/12 was 52.0%, 44.2%, and 39.8%, respectively, for men (p < 0.001) and 31.6%, 25.7%, and 25.7%, respectively, for women (p < 0.001). A decline in alcohol intake was seen between 1983 and 2012 for all subpopulations, except for women aged over 45 years, for whom alcohol intake increased. Energy intake was higher for participants reporting alcohol intake and the mean difference (SD) in energy intake for those reporting alcohol versus non-consumers was +1514 kJ (462) for men and +1227 kJ (424) for women. Consistent with apparent consumption data, reported alcohol intake for the total population decreased over time. As those reporting alcohol had much higher energy intakes than non-consumers, promoting alcohol intakes consistent with national recommendations may have important implications for the prevention of obesity, particularly for middle-aged women.

Published in General Health

BACKGROUND: Previous studies have revealed inconsistent findings regarding the association of light to moderate alcohol consumption with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer mortality.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to examine the association between alcohol consumption and risk of mortality from all causes, cancer, and CVD in U.S. adults. METHODS: Data were obtained by linking 13 waves of the National Health Interview Surveys (1997 to 2009) to the National Death Index records through December 31, 2011. A total of 333,247 participants >/=18 years of age were included. Self-reported alcohol consumption patterns were categorized into 6 groups: lifetime abstainers; lifetime infrequent drinkers; former drinkers; and current light, moderate, or heavy drinkers. Secondary exposure included participants' binge-drinking status. The main outcome was all-cause, cancer, or CVD mortality.

RESULTS: After a median follow-up of 8.2 years (2.7 million person-years), 34,754 participants died of all causes (including 8,947 CVD deaths and 8,427 cancer deaths). Compared with lifetime abstainers, those who were light or moderate alcohol consumers were at a reduced risk of mortality for all causes (light-hazard ratio [HR]: 0.79; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.76 to 0.82; moderate-HR: 0.78; 95% CI: 0.74 to 0.82) and CVD (light-HR: 0.74; 95% CI: 0.69 to 0.80; moderate-HR: 0.71; 95% CI: 0.64 to 0.78), respectively. In contrast, there was a significantly increased risk of mortality for all causes (HR: 1.11; 95% CI: 1.04 to 1.19) and cancer (HR: 1.27; 95% CI: 1.13 to 1.42) in adults with heavy alcohol consumption. Binge drinking >/=1 d/week was also associated with an increased risk of mortality for all causes (HR: 1.13; 95% CI: 1.04 to 1.23) and cancer (HR: 1.22; 95% CI: 1.05 to 1.41).

CONCLUSIONS: Light and moderate alcohol intake might have a protective effect on all-cause and CVD-specific mortality in U.S. adults. Heavy or binge drinking was associated with increased risk of all-cause and cancer-specific mortality.

Published in General Health

'Responsible drinking' campaigns emerged in the early 1970s as a means of addressing hazardous drinking and its related consequences. While these were initially the product of public health agencies and health-related NGOs, they are increasingly being developed and disseminated by the alcohol industry. There is considerable debate as to whether industry-generated campaigns are designed to reduce hazardous drinking and related problems (as argued by their developers) or are designed to avoid government regulation or even to increase sales. The aim of the present study was to explore the way that recent industry-developed responsible drinking campaigns are perceived and interpreted by the general public. That is, do they promote low-risk drinking, promote risky drinking, or just muddy the waters. Two sub-studies were conducted. The first, a mall intercept study with 180 adults in two Australian shopping districts, explored participants' understanding of slogans/taglines. The second, an online survey with 480 Australian adults, explored understandings and interpretations of television/online commercials. The results of the two studies revealed diversity in participants' interpretation of the 'responsible drinking' advertisements. Terminology utilised in industry-developed advertisements was found to be ambiguous; for example, what age group was being referred to in the tagline 'Kids and alcohol don't mix', and whether 'Drink Properly' meant not drinking to excess or drinking in a way that made you look more sophisticated. In Study Two, the government-developed campaign ('Know when to say when') was clearly interpreted as warning against risky consumption of alcohol; whereas the industry-developed campaigns ('How to drink properly', 'Kids absorb your drinking', 'Friends are waiting') were interpreted to have a range of different meanings, including some seemingly unrelated to alcohol. These findings are consistent with the literature evaluating anti-smoking campaigns developed by the tobacco industry, and previous research showing that industry communications serve to soften public opinion and create the impression of a 'socially responsible' industry but are likely to be less effective than initiatives focused on the availability and promotion of alcohol.

Published in Drinking Patterns

AIMS: The aim of this study was to clarify the relationship between drinking and metabolically healthy status in men with normal weight, overweight and obesity.

METHODS: The subjects were Japanese men aged from 35 to 60 years (n=31781) and they were divided by daily amount of drinking (g ethanol) into light (< 22), moderate (>/=22 and <44), heavy (>/=44 and <66) and very heavy (>/=66) drinkers. Metabolically healthy subjects were defined as those without hypertension, dyslipidemia and diabetes.

RESULTS: The percentage of metabolically healthy subjects was much lower in the overweight (BMI>/=25 and <30) and obese (BMI>/=30) groups than in the normal weight group (BMI>/=18.5 and <25) and was much lower in the obese group than in the overweight group. In each of the normal weight and overweight groups, percentages of metabolically healthy subjects were significantly lower in heavy and very heavy drinkers than in nondrinkers and were marginally significantly higher in light drinkers than in nondrinkers. The above associations between drinking and metabolically healthy status were confirmed by logistic regression analysis. In the obese group, the percentage of metabolically healthy subjects was significantly lower in regular drinkers (including all drinker categories) than in nondrinkers, and metabolically healthy subjects were rare (0.56%) among regular drinkers.

CONCLUSIONS: Regardless of absence and presence of overweight or obesity, excessive alcohol drinking is inversely associated with metabolically healthy status and should be avoided for prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Published in Cardiovascular System
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