22 February 2019 In General Health

We estimated calorie intake from alcohol in Canada, overall and by gender, age, and province, and provide evidence to advocate for mandatory alcohol labelling requirements. Annual per capita (aged 15+) alcohol sales data in litres of pure ethanol by beverage type were taken from Statistics Canada's CANSIM database and converted into calories. The apportionment of consumption by gender, age, and province was based on data from the Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Survey. Estimated energy requirements (EER) were from Canada's Food Guide. The average drinker consumed 250 calories, or 11.2% of their daily EER in the form of alcohol, with men (13.3%) consuming a higher proportion of their EER from alcohol than women (8.2%). Drinkers consumed more than one-tenth of their EER from alcohol in all but one province. By beverage type, beer contributes 52.7% of all calories derived from alcohol, while wine (20.8%); spirits (19.8%); and ciders, coolers, and other alcohol (6.7%) also contribute substantially. The substantial caloric impact of alcoholic drinks in the Canadian diet suggests that the addition of caloric labelling on these drinks is a necessary step.

22 February 2019 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Unhealthy alcohol use (UAU) is one of the major causes of preventable morbidity, mortality, and associated behavioral risks worldwide. Although mobile health (mHealth) interventions can provide consumers with an effective means for self-control of UAU in a timely, ubiquitous, and cost-effective manner, to date, there is a lack of understanding about different health outcomes brought by such interventions. The core components of these interventions are also unclear.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to systematically review and synthesize the research evidence about the efficacy of mHealth interventions on various health outcomes for consumer self-control of UAU and to identify the core components to achieve these outcomes.

METHODS: We systematically searched 7 electronic interdisciplinary databases: Scopus, PubMed, PubMed Central, CINAHL Plus with full text, MEDLINE with full text, PsycINFO, and PsycARTICLES. Search terms and Medical Subject Headings "mHealth," "text message," "SMS," "App," "IVR," "self-control," "self-regulation," "alcohol*," and "intervention" were used individually or in combination to identify peer-reviewed publications in English from 2008 to 2017. We screened titles and abstracts and assessed full-text papers as per inclusion and exclusion criteria. Data were extracted from the included papers according to the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials-EHEALTH checklist (V 1.6.1) by 2 authors independently. Data quality was assessed by the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. Data synthesis and analyses were conducted following the procedures for qualitative content analysis. Statistical testing was also conducted to test differences among groups of studies. RESULTS: In total, 19 studies were included in the review. Of these 19 studies, 12 (63%) mHealth interventions brought significant positive outcomes in improving participants' health as measured by behavioral (n=11), physiological (n=1), and cognitive indicators (n=1). No significant health outcome was reported in 6 studies (6/19, 32%). Surprisingly, a significant negative outcome was reported for the male participants in the intervention arm in 1 study (1/19, 5%), but no change was found for the female participants. In total, 5 core components reported in the mHealth interventions for consumer self-control of UAU were context, theoretical base, delivery mode, content, and implementation procedure. However, sound evidence is yet to be generated about the role of each component for mHealth success. The health outcomes were similar regardless of types of UAU, deployment setting, with or without nonmobile cointervention, and with or without theory.

CONCLUSIONS: Most studies reported mHealth interventions for self-control of UAU appeared to be improving behavior, especially the ones delivered by short message service and interactive voice response systems. Further studies are needed to gather sound evidence about the effects of mHealth interventions on improving physiological and cognitive outcomes as well as the optimal design of these interventions, their implementation, and effects in supporting self-control of UAU.

22 February 2019 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Prevention aiming at smoking, alcohol consumption, and BMI could potentially bring large gains in life expectancy (LE) and health expectancy measures such as Healthy Life Years (HLY) and Life Expectancy in Good Perceived Health (LEGPH) in the European Union. However, the potential gains might differ by region.

METHODS: A Sullivan life table model was applied for 27 European countries to calculate the impact of alternative scenarios of lifestyle behavior on life and health expectancy. Results were then pooled over countries to present the potential gains in HLY and LEGPH for four European regions.

RESULTS: Simulations show that up to 4 years of extra health expectancy can be gained by getting all countries to the healthiest levels of lifestyle observed in EU countries. This is more than the 2 years to be gained in life expectancy. Generally, Eastern Europe has the lowest LE, HLY, and LEGPH. Even though the largest gains in LEPGH and HLY can also be made in Eastern Europe, the gap in LE, HLY, and LEGPH can only in a small part be closed by changing smoking, alcohol consumption, and BMI.

CONCLUSION: Based on the current data, up to 4 years of good health could be gained by adopting lifestyle as seen in the best-performing countries. Only a part of the lagging health expectancy of Eastern Europe can potentially be solved by improvements in lifestyle involving smoking and BMI. Before it is definitely concluded that lifestyle policy for alcohol use is of relatively little importance compared to smoking or BMI, as our findings suggest, better data should be gathered in all European countries concerning alcohol use and the odds ratios of overconsumption of alcohol.

22 February 2019 In General Health

The determination of appropriate dietary strategies for the prevention of chronic degenerative diseases, cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases remains a challenging and highly relevant issue worldwide. Epidemiological dietary interventions have been studied for decades with contrasting impacts on human health. Moreover, research scientists and physicians have long debated diets encouraging alcohol intake, such as the Mediterranean and French-style diets, with regard to their impact on human health. Understanding the effects of these diets may help to improve in the treatment and prevention of diseases. However, further studies are warranted to determine which individual food components, or combinations thereof, have a beneficial impact on different diseases, since a large number of different compounds may occur in a single food, and their fate in vivo is difficult to measure. Most explanations for the positive effects of Mediterranean-style diet, and of the French paradox, have focused largely on the beneficial properties of antioxidants, among other compounds/metabolites, in foods and red wine. Wine is a traditional alcoholic beverage that has been associated with both healthy and harmful effects. Not withstanding some doubts, there is reasonable unanimity among researchers as to the beneficial effects of moderate wine consumption on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and longevity, which have been ascribed to polyphenolic compounds present in wine. Despite this, conflicting findings regarding the impact of alcohol consumption on human health, and contradictory findings concerning the effects of non-alcoholic wine components such as resveratrol, have led to confusion among consumers. In addition to these contradictions and misconceptions, there is a paucity of human research studies confirming known positive effects of polyphenols in vivo. Furthermore, studies balancing both known and unknown prognostic factors have mostly been conducted in vitro or using animal models. Moreover, current studies have shifted focus from red wine to dairy products, such as cheese, to explain the French paradox. The aim of this review is to highlight the contradictions, misconceptions, and scientific facts about wines and diets, giving special focus to the Mediterranean and French diets in disease prevention and human health improvement. To answer the multiplicity of questions regarding the effects of diet and specific diet components on health, and to relieve consumer uncertainty and promote health, comprehensive cross-demographic studies using the latest technologies, which include foodomics and integrated omics approaches, are warranted.

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