INTRODUCTION AND AIMS: This study aims to estimate the prevalence of long-term risky drinking within the Australian population and the proportion of standard drinks that is consumed outside of the long-term risk (LTR) guidelines of two Australian standard drinks (ASD) per day.

DESIGN AND METHODS: Recruited by phone, 2020 Australian adults with an oversampling of risky drinkers were asked detailed questions about how much alcohol they consumed at a range of locations in 2013. Descriptive statistical analyses of data weighted to be representative of the Australian adult population were undertaken, with a focus on the ASD consumed above the LTR guidelines.

RESULTS: Although 28% of respondents drink at levels above the LTR drinking guidelines, 56% of all ASD consumed are above the two per day recommended to reduce LTR. Three-quarters of cask wine and liqueurs were consumed outside of the LTR guidelines, as were 58% of all ASD consumed in the home, similar to the proportion of ASD consumed above the guidelines in pubs (55%).

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: While the minority of Australians drink to LTR levels, the majority of alcohol is consumed by long-term risky drinkers. More research and policy focus on the patterns of alcohol consumption that lead to long-term risk, particularly outside of licensed premises, is required.

[Callinan S, Livingston M, Room R, Dietze PM. How much alcohol is consumed outside of the lifetime risk guidelines in Australia?. Drug Alcohol Rev 2017;00:000-000]

Published in Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: We aimed to describe gender and region differences in the prevalence of binge drinking and in the association between binge drinking and well-being, among older adult Europeans. This is a cross-sectional study using the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) wave 4, conducted between 2011 and 2012, including 58 489 individuals aged 50 years or older. Sixteen European countries were grouped in four drinking culture regions: South, Central, North and East. We categorized drinking patterns as: never, former, no-binge and binge drinkers. We used the CASP-12 questionnaire to measure well-being. To assess the association between binge drinking and well-being, we fitted two-level mixed effects linear models. The highest percentage of binge drinkers was found in Central Europe (17.25% in men and 5.05% in women) and the lowest in Southern Europe (9.74% in men and 2.34% in women). Former, never and binge drinkers had a significant negative association with well-being as compared with no-binge drinkers. There was a significant interaction in this association by gender and region. Overall, associations were generally stronger in women and in Southern and Eastern Europe. The negative association of binge drinking with well-being was especially strong in Southern European women ( beta = -3.80, 95% CI: -5.16 to - 2.44, P value <0.001). In Southern and Eastern European countries the association between binge drinking and well-being is stronger, especially in women, compared with Northern and Central Europe. Cultural factors (such as tolerance to drunkenness) should be further explored.

Published in Drinking Patterns

The relation of alcohol consumption with disease burden remains debated partly due to opposite associations with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer. The relation of alcohol consumption with disease burden expressed in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) summarizes opposing associations of alcohol consumption on chronic diseases. This study aimed to investigate the association of alcohol consumption with chronic disease burden expressed in DALYs based on individual-participant data. The study was a prospective study among 33,066 men and women from the EPIC-NL cohort. At baseline, alcohol consumption was assessed with a validated food-frequency questionnaire. Participants were followed for occurrence of and mortality from chronic diseases and DALYs were calculated. After 12.4 years follow-up, 6647 disease incidences and 1482 deaths were documented, resulting in 68,225 healthy years of life lost (6225 DALYs). Moderate drinkers (women 5-14.9 g/day, men 5-29.9 g/day) had a lower chronic disease burden (mean DALYs -0.27; 95% CI -0.43; -0.11) than light drinkers (0-4.9 g/day), driven by a lower disease burden due to CVD (-0.18: -0.29; -0.06) but not cancer (-0.05: -0.16; 0.06). The associations were most pronounced among older participants (>/=50 years; -0.32; -0.53; -0.10) and not observed among younger women (-0.08; -0.43; 0.35), albeit non-significant (pinteraction > 0.14). Substantial drinking (women 15-29.9 g/day, men 30-59.9 g/day) compared to light drinking was not associated with chronic disease burden. Our results show that moderate compared to light alcohol consumption was associated with living approximately 3 months longer in good health. These results were mainly observed among older participants and not seen among younger women.

Published in General Health

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
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