General Health

Moderate wine drinkers have a lower risk to die from any cause (lower total  mortality risk) than those who abstain or drink heavily. This widely accepted association is known as the J-curve. This J-curve is attributable to the beneficial effect on cardiovascular health which compensates the negative effects of some cancers resulting in a lower risk to die from any possible cause. The relative risk of dying is lowest among light to moderate drinkers and increased among abstainers. However, the risk increases dramatically with each drink above moderation. Thus, while one or two glasses can be considered “good for your health”, drinking more than what guidelines suggest will not provide more benefits, only more harm.


If consumed in excess, alcoholic beverages increase the exposure to a wide range of risk factors whereby the risk rises with the amount of alcohol consumed. Thus, it is crucial to prevent abusive consumption. Alcohol abuse is associated with a range of long-term chronic diseases that reduce the quality of life. These include hypertension, cardiovascular problems, cirrhosis of the liver, alcohol dependence, various forms of cancer, alcohol-related brain damage and a range of other problems. Not only the amount of alcohol but also the drinking patterns are important. Findings from a meta analysis support results from other studies that binge drinking is detrimental to heart health. The authors concluded that it is best for drinkers to avoid binge drinking -- not only because of the possible heart effects, but also because of more immediate risks, like accidents and violence.


In addition to health issues resulting from excessive alcohol consumption, there are social consequences, both for the drinker and for others in the community. The consequences include harm to family members (including children), to friends and colleagues as well as to bystanders and strangers.


The above summary provides an overview of the topic, for more details and specific questions, please refer to the articles in the database.



This article reports the results of a purposive review of the different alcohol survey instruments currently used in survey research. The review was conducted to support the development of a standardized comparative survey methodology for Europe. It examines various types of instruments used to measure alcohol consumption, risky drinking, alcohol abuse and dependence, social consequences and third-party harm. The review of literature provides several insights for a European comparative survey. The beverage-specific quantity-frequency measure is recommended for use across countries. A reference period of 1 year for alcohol consumption is considered important if one is to link associated problems with alcohol intake. With regard to risky drinking, objective measures based on the quantity of approximately 60-70 g of ethanol per…
Background: This study predicts the implications of under-reporting of alcohol consumption in England for alcohol consumption above Government drinking thresholds. Methods: Two nationally representative samples of private households in England were used: General LiFestyle survey (GLF) and Health Survey for England (HSE) 2008. Participants were 9608 adults with self-reported alcohol consumption on heaviest drinking day in the last week (HSE) and 12 490 adults with self-reported average weekly alcohol consumption (GLF). Alcohol consumption in both surveys was revised to account for under-reporting in three hypothetical scenarios. The prevalence of drinking more than UK Government guidelines of 21/14 (men/women) alcohol units a week, and 4/3 units per day, and the prevalence of binge drinking (>8/6 units) were investigated using logistic regression.…
Background: Excessive alcohol consumption causes premature death (average of 79,000 deathsannually); increased disease and injury; property damage from fýre and motor vehicle crashes;alcohol-related crime; and lost productivity. However, its economic cost has not been assessed for theU.S. since 1998. Purpose: To update prior national estimates of the economic costs of excessive drinking. Methods: This study (conducted 2009 -2010) followed U.S. Public Health Service Guidelines toassess the economic cost of excessive alcohol consumption in 2006. Costs for health care, productivitylosses, and other effects (e.g., property damage) in 2006 were obtained from national databases.Alcohol-attributable fractions were obtained from multiple sources and used to assess the proportionof costs that could be attributed to excessive alcohol consumption. Results: The estimated economic cost of excessive…
To evaluate how the peripheral release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, cholecystokinin, and beta-endorphin is involved in drinking behavior, blood concentrations of these neurotransmitters were followed in 40 healthy young volunteers during the first hour after ingestion of a moderate dose of some common alcoholic beverages (champagne, still white wine) as compared to water. Concerning serotonin levels, two groups of subjects are statistically distinct: one with low basal serotonin levels (< 620 nmol/L) which responded with an increase in serotonin (52% in 10 minutes), and a second group with higher basal serotonin levels (> 620 nmol/L) which responded with a decrease ( 190% in 60 minutes). Variations in serotonin concentrations appear to depend upon the alcoholic content of the…
Background/Objectives:Alcohol and dietary fat have high energy densities and may therefore be related to body weight and fat deposition. We studied associations between alcohol and macronutrient intake patterns and general and central adiposity.Subjects/Methods:A population-based cross-sectional study of 524 men and 611 women. The participants answered a dietary questionnaire describing habitual food consumption including intake of alcoholic beverages. Macronutrient intake was analysed in relation to anthropometric measures and dual energy X-ray absorptiometry determined body fat.Results:In women, total alcohol intake was negatively associated with body fat percentage (beta:-0.67, P<0.01). In men, total alcohol intake was positively associated with sagittal abdominal diameter (SAD) (beta: 0.28, P=0.01). In addition, positive associations were found between intake of alcohol from spirits and body fat percentage (beta:…
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