INTRODUCTION: Youth obesity rates in Canada continue to rise. In this study, we produced conservative estimates of the potential excess calories from alcohol use across different alcohol consumption patterns common among Canadian youth to assess whether alcohol use should be considered in future obesity prevention strategies.

METHODS: Using data from 10 144 Grade 12 students participating in the COMPASS study (2013/14), we estimated the number of calories consumed per year from alcohol consumption. Our estimates were based on three different generic types of alcoholic beverages, which were grouped according to average calorie content (vodka coolers; beer [5%]; and beer [4%], wine and liquor) across different frequencies of alcohol use and binge drinking.

RESULTS: Results indicated high potential caloric intake for students who binge drank, as well as high variability in the estimates for calories consumed based on common consumption patterns for the different beverage types. For instance, 27.2% of students binge drank once per month, meaning they consumed between 6000 and 13 200 calories in one year (equivalent to 0.78 - 1.71 kg of fat). For the 4.9% of students who binge drank twice per week, the total calories in one year would range from 52 000 to 114 400 (equivalent to 6.74 - 14.83 kg of fat).

CONCLUSION: Current recommendations for preventing youth obesity do not generally include any consideration of alcohol use. The high prevalence of frequent alcohol consumption and binge drinking by youth in this study and the substantial number of calories contained in alcoholic beverages suggest alcohol use among youth may warrant consideration in relation to youth obesity prevention.

Published in General Health

BACKGROUND & AIMS: The ingestion of small to moderate alcohol consumption amounts has been associated to cardiovascular protection. This study aimed to evaluate the association between alcohol consumption and coronary artery disease severity.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Cross-sectional Study with patients undergoing coronary angiography. Age, cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, systemic arterial hypertension, dyslipidemia and diabetes) and alcohol drinking habit were investigated. Alcohol consumption was divided in three categories: nondrinker, moderate alcohol consumption (less than 15 g ethanol/day for women or 30 g ethanol/day for men) and heavy alcohol consumption. Coronary artery disease severity was assessed through the Friesinger Score (FS) in the coronary angiography, by interventional cardiologists blinded to alcohol consumption.

RESULTS: The final sample included 363 adults; of those, 228 were men (62.81%). Mean age was 60.5 +/- 10.9 y. Unadjusted analyses identified sex, age, hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia and alcohol consumption as the main covariates associated with the Friesinger score. Lower Friesinger scores were also observed in moderate alcohol consumption when comparing to those who do not drink (RR 0.86; 95% CI 0.79-0.95).

CONCLUSION: Among patients with suspected coronary artery disease undergoing coronary angiography, moderate alcohol consumption is associated to a lower coronary artery disease severity than heavy drinking.

Published in Cardiovascular System

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

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Several studies have found that moderate alcohol intake is associated with lower risk of functional limitations in older adults. However, no previous investigation has assessed this association in older adults from Mediterranean countries, who show characteristic drinking patterns.

METHODS: Data were taken from the UAM and the Seniors-ENRICA cohorts in Spain, comprising community-dwelling people aged >/=60 years. At baseline, participants in both cohorts were classified as non-drinkers, ex-drinkers, moderate drinkers and heavy drinkers (the threshold between moderate and heavy intake was >/=40 g/day in men and >/=24 g/day in women). The Seniors-ENRICA cohort allowed assessment of a Mediterranean Drinking Pattern (MDP), defined as moderate alcohol intake, with wine preference (>/=80% of alcohol consumed as wine) and drinking only with meals. The incidence of limitation in mobility, agility, and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) was ascertained in each cohort at the end of a 3.5-year follow-up. Analyses were adjusted for sex, age, education, lifestyle, BMI, chronic conditions, and functional limitations at baseline others than the studied limitation.

RESULTS: Compared with non-drinkers, ex-drinkers showed a higher risk of IADL limitation (pooled adjusted odds ratio [paOR]: 1.63; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.04-2.21). By contrast, moderate drinkers had a lower risk of limitations in mobility (paOR: 0.80; 95% CI: 0.63-0.97), agility (paOR: 0.82; 95% CI: 0.65-0.99) and IADL (paOR: 0.54; 95% CI: 0.39-0.69). Among individuals reporting poor or fair health, the MDP was associated with lower risk of mobility limitation (aOR: 0.51; 95% CI: 0.27-0.97).

CONCLUSION: In older adults, moderate alcohol consumption, as well as the MDP in specific subgroups, is associated with lower risk of functional limitation. These results should not serve to promote alcohol intake, because older adults are particularly vulnerable to its harmful effects.

Published in General Health
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