22 October 2021 In Drinking Patterns

During the early months of 2020, the world experienced a novel, violent, and relentless pandemic era. By the end of the year more than seventy-seven million cases of COVID-19 had been reported around the globe. Due to it being a highly contagious disease, the recommended measures adopted by most nations to prevent infection include social distancing and quarantine. How did these measures affect people's relationship with alcohol consumption in cultures where alcohol plays an important social role? A questionnaire-based study, designed to follow the drinking behaviour of people before and during lockdown was applied to two different cultural groups impacted by the pandemic during the strict phase of lockdown. These are the British and Spanish populations (179 participants from each country were interviewed). Considering the frequency of consumption of the alcoholic beverages evaluated (wine, beer, cider, whisky and spirits), the results showed that a significant lockdown*country interaction was observed. Overall, Spanish participants consumed alcoholic beverages less frequently during lockdown than before, while British participants reported no change in their consumption habits. Spaniards' decrease in alcohol consumption is related to the absence of a social contexts while Britons seems to have adapted their consumption to the modified context. Results suggest that, alcohol consumption is a central core of the British culture, while for the Spanish, socialization is more a cultural characteristic than the alcohol itself.

22 October 2021 In Drinking Patterns

The aim of this study was to evaluate the longitudinal changes in alcohol consumption (total alcohol and types of alcoholic beverages) of the Greek EPIC cohort participants (28,572) during a 17-year period (1994-2011), with alcohol information being recorded repeatedly over time. Descriptive statistics were used to show crude trends in drinking behavior. Mixed-effects models were used to study the consumption of total alcohol, wine, beer and spirits/other alcoholic beverages in relation to birth cohort, socio-demographic, lifestyle and health factors. We observed a decreasing trend of alcohol intake as age increased, consistent for total alcohol consumption and the three types of beverages. Older birth cohorts had lower initial total alcohol consumption (8 vs. 10 g/day) and steeper decline in wine, spirits/other alcoholic beverages and total alcohol consumption compared to younger cohorts. Higher education and smoking at baseline had a positive association with longitudinal total alcohol consumption, up to +30% (vs. low education) and more than +25% (vs. non-smoking) respectively, whereas female gender, obesity, history of heart attack, diabetes, peptic ulcer and high blood pressure at baseline had a negative association of -85%, -25%, -16%, -37%, -22% and -24% respectively. Alcohol consumption changed over age with different trends among the studied subgroups and types of alcohol, suggesting targeted monitoring of alcohol consumption.

23 September 2021 In Drinking Patterns

PURPOSE: A period of first increasing and then decreasing alcohol consumption in Finland in the 2000s offers an opportunity to scrutinize how population-level changes stem from varying developments in different population subgroups and drinking patterns. We examine 1) whose consumption changed in terms of age, sex, and level of consumption, and 2) how drinking patterns changed and whether the changes indicated steps toward a more Mediterranean drinking style.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The main data source was the Finnish Drinking Habits surveys of 2000, 2008, and 2016 of the general Finnish population aged 15?69?years (n?=?6703, response rates 59?78%).

RESULTS: Before 2008, consumption increased particularly among women and Finns aged 50+. After 2008, abstinence became more frequent and regular drinking less frequent. Additionally, heavy episodic drinking decreased, especially among men and in younger age groups. However, compared to earlier, similar levels of the volume of alcohol consumption did not result from a more Mediterranean drinking style, i.e. consuming smaller quantities more frequently. Finnish men continue to report very high maximum drinking amounts. The changes in both periods occurred as collective changes across the whole continuum of consumption from light to heavy drinkers.

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, our findings indicate that during the period of decreasing per capita alcohol consumption, both the frequency of drinking overall and of heavy episodic drinking decreased, but heavy episodic drinking is still prevalent.

23 September 2021 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: This study examined the relative contribution of alcoholic beverage types to overall alcohol consumption and associations with heavy alcohol use and alcohol-related harms among adults.

METHODS: Cross-sectional survey data were collected from adult samples in two cities involved in the Global Smart Drinking Goals (GSDG) initiative in each of five countries (Belgium, Brazil, China, South Africa, United States). Survey measures included past-30-day consumption of beer, wine, flavored alcoholic drinks, spirits, and homemade alcohol; past-30-day heavy drinking; 14 alcohol-related harms in the past 12 months; and demographic characteristics. Within in each country, we computed the proportion of total alcohol consumption for each beverage type. Regression analyses were conducted to estimate the relative associations between consumption of each alcoholic beverage type, heavy alcohol use, and alcohol-related harms, controlling for demographic characteristics.

RESULTS: Beer accounted for at least half of total alcohol consumption in GSDG cities in Belgium, Brazil, the U.S., and South Africa, and 35% in China. Regression analyses indicated that greater beer consumption was associated with heavy drinking episodes and with alcohol-related harms in the cities in Belgium, Brazil, South Africa, and the U.S. Significant increases in heavy drinking and alcohol-related harms were also consistently observed for spirits consumption.

CONCLUSIONS: Beer accounts for the greatest proportion of total alcohol consumption in most of the GSDG cities and was consistently associated with more heavy drinking episodes and alcohol-related harms. Reducing beer consumption through evidence-based interventions may therefore have the greatest impact on hazardous drinking and alcohol-related harms.

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