To better understand the association of alcohol intake with cognitively healthy longevity (CHL), we explored the association between amount and frequency of alcohol intake and CHL among 1,344 older community-dwelling adults. Alcohol intake was assessed by questionnaire in 1984-1987. Cognitive function was assessed in approximate four-year intervals between 1988 and 2009. Multinomial logistic regression, adjusting for multiple lifestyle and health factors, was used to examine the association between alcohol consumption and CHL (living to age 85 without cognitive impairment), survival to age 85 with cognitive impairment (MMSE score >1.5 standard deviations below expectation for age, sex, and education), or death before age 85. Most participants (88%) reported some current alcohol intake; 49% reported a moderate amount of alcohol intake, and 48% reported drinking near-daily. Relative to nondrinkers, moderate and heavy drinkers (up to 3 drinks/day for women and for men 65 years and older, up to 4 drinks/day for men under 65 years) had significantly higher adjusted odds of survival to age 85 without cognitive impairment (p's < 0.05). Near-daily drinkers had 2-3 fold higher adjusted odds of CHL versus living to at least age 85 with cognitive impairment (odds ratio (OR) = 2.06; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.21, 3.49) or death before 85 (OR = 3.24; 95% CI: 1.92, 5.46). Although excessive drinking has negative health consequences, these results suggest that regular, moderate drinking may play a role in cognitively healthy longevity.

Published in General Health

BACKGROUND: Limited research is available on children's alcohol-related knowledge and alcohol-related norms, yet a better comprehension of these factors may be crucial in explaining alcohol use later in life. This study provides insights into alcohol-related knowledge and alcohol-related norms in four- to six-year-olds.

METHODS: Participating children (N=329; 48.9% boys) were shown, on a tablet, 18 drawings depicting 72 male and female adults and/or children in various situations and were asked to indicate what the depicted persons drank by touching one of 12 depicted beverages (four alcoholic; eight non-alcoholic). Subsequently, the children were asked to name the beverages and indicate whether they contained alcohol.

RESULTS: Children identified 30.7% of the alcoholic beverages (i.e., beer, champagne, red wine, and white wine) correctly by name and they identified 41.6% of the alcoholic beverages correctly as alcohol-containing. Children more often correctly identified the name and non-alcoholic content of non-alcoholic beverages compared to the name and alcoholic content of alcoholic beverages. No sex differences emerged in the correct identification of the name and the content of both alcoholic beverages and non-alcoholic beverages. However, alcohol-related knowledge was age-graded. Alcoholic beverages were more often assigned to male adults (39.2%) than to female adults (24.8%) or to children (13.2%). Additionally, alcoholic beverages were more often assigned to adults depicted in the presumably more appropriate situations (e.g., 'when having an indoor party': 37.0%) than to those depicted in the presumably more inappropriate situations (e.g., 'when driving a car': 28.6%).

CONCLUSIONS: Four- to six-year-olds already have knowledge about alcohol and its norms in adult culture. Insight into the development of children's alcohol-related knowledge and alcohol-related norms over time is required to investigate the transitions to alcohol expectancies, drinking motives, and alcohol initiation often occurring in adolescence. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

Published in General Health

Understanding the relationship between memory function and lifestyle offers great opportunities for promoting beneficial lifestyle choices to foster healthy cognitive aging and for the development of intervention programs for older adults. We studied a cohort of older adults (age 65 and older) enrolled in the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam, an ongoing prospective population-based research project. A total of 1,966 men and women participated in an episodic memory test every 3 years over a period of 14 years. Lifestyle habits were repeatedly assessed using self-report measures. Physical activity, light-to-moderate alcohol consumption, difficulties staying asleep, and social engagement were associated with better memory function over the course of 14 years. In contrast, smoking and long sleep duration were associated with worse memory function. These findings suggest that certain lifestyle factors can have long-term protective or harmful effects on memory function in aging individuals.

Published in General Health

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
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