23 November 2022 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Alcohol is a discretionary, energy dense, dietary component. Compared to non-drinkers, people who consume alcohol report higher total energy intake and may be at increased risk of weight gain, overweight, and obesity, which are key preventable risk factors for illness. However, accurate consumer knowledge of the energy content in alcohol is low. To inform future behaviour change interventions among drinkers, this study investigated individual characteristics associated with changing alcohol consumption due to energy-related concerns.

METHODS: An online survey was undertaken with 801 Australian adult drinkers (18-59 years, 50.2% female), i.e. who consumed alcohol at least monthly. In addition to demographic and health-related characteristics, participants reported past-year alcohol consumption, past-year reductions in alcohol consumption, frequency of harm minimisation strategy use (when consuming alcohol), and frequency of changing alcohol consumption behaviours because of energy-related concerns.

RESULTS: When prompted, 62.5% of participants reported changing alcohol consumption for energy-related reasons at least 'sometimes'. Women, those aged 30-44 years, metropolitan residents, those with household income $80,001-120,000, and risky/more frequent drinkers had increased odds of changing consumption because of energy-related concerns, and unemployed respondents had reduced odds.

CONCLUSIONS: Results indicate that some sociodemographic groups are changing alcohol consumption for energy-related reasons, but others are not, representing an underutilised opportunity for health promotion communication. Further research should investigate whether messaging to increase awareness of alcohol energy content, including through systems-based policy actions such as nutritional/energy product labelling, would motivate reduced consumption across a broader range of drinkers.

23 November 2022 In Drinking Patterns

Although excessive alcohol consumption is a highly prevalent public health problem the data on the associations between alcohol consumption and health outcomes in individuals preferring different types of alcoholic beverages has remained unclear. We examined the relationships between the amounts and patterns of drinking with the data on laboratory indices of liver function, lipid status and inflammation in a national population-based health survey (FINRISK). Data on health status, alcohol drinking, types of alcoholic beverages preferred, body weight, smoking, coffee consumption and physical activity were recorded from 22,432 subjects (10,626 men, 11,806 women), age range 25-74 years. The participants were divided to subgroups based on the amounts of regular alcohol intake (abstainers, moderate and heavy drinkers), patterns of drinking (binge or regular) and the type of alcoholic beverage preferred (wine, beer, cider or long drink, hard liquor or mixed). Regular drinking was found to be more typical in wine drinkers whereas the subjects preferring beer or hard liquor were more often binge-type drinkers and cigarette smokers. Alcohol use in all forms was associated with increased frequencies of abnormalities in the markers of liver function, lipid status and inflammation even at rather low levels of consumption. The highest rates of abnormalities occurred, however, in the subgroups of binge-type drinkers preferring beer or hard liquor. These results demonstrate that adverse consequences of alcohol occur even at moderate average drinking levels especially in individuals who engage in binge drinking and in those preferring beer or hard liquor. Further emphasis should be placed on such patterns of drinking in policies aimed at preventing alcohol-induced adverse health outcomes.

27 October 2022 In Cancer

Importance: Although numerous studies have shown an association between alcohol consumption and cancer, how changes in drinking behavior increase or decrease the incidence of cancer is not well understood. Objective: To investigate the association between the reduction, cessation, or increase of alcohol consumption and the development of alcohol-related cancers and all cancers.

Design, Setting, and Participants: This population-based cohort study analyzed adult beneficiaries in the Korean National Health Insurance Service. Participants (aged >/=40 years) included those who underwent a national health screening in both 2009 and 2011 and had available data on their drinking status. Data were analyzed from April 16 to July 6, 2020. Exposures: Alcohol consumption level, which was self-reported by participants in health screening questionnaires, was categorized into none (0 g/d), mild (/=30 g/d) drinking. Based on changes in alcohol consumption level from 2009 to 2011, participants were categorized into the following groups: nondrinker, sustainer, increaser, quitter, and reducer. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was newly diagnosed alcohol-related cancers (including cancers of the head and neck, esophagus, colorectum, liver, larynx, and female breast), and the secondary outcome was all newly diagnosed cancers (except for thyroid cancer).

Results: Among the 4513746 participants (mean [SD] age, 53.6 [9.6] years; 2324172 [51.5%] men), the incidence rate of cancer was 7.7 per 1000 person-years during a median (IQR) follow-up of 6.4 (6.1-6.6) years. Compared with the sustainer groups at each drinking level, the increaser groups had a higher risk of alcohol-related cancers and all cancers. The increased alcohol-related cancer incidence was associated with dose; those who changed from nondrinking to mild (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.03; 95% CI, 1.00-1.06), moderate (aHR, 1.10; 95% CI, 1.02-1.18), or heavy (aHR, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.23-1.45) drinking levels had an associated higher risk than those who did not drink. Those with mild drinking levels who quit drinking had a lower risk of alcohol-related cancer (aHR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.92-0.99) than those who sustained their drinking levels. Those with moderate (aHR, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.03-1.12) or heavy (aHR, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.02-1.12) drinking levels who quit drinking had a higher all cancer incidence than those who sustained their levels, but when quitting was sustained, this increase in risk disappeared. Compared with sustained heavy drinking, reduced heavy drinking levels to moderate levels (alcohol-related cancer: aHR, 0.91 [95% CI, 0.86-0.97]; all cancers: aHR, 0.96 [95% CI, 0.92-0.99]) or mild levels (alcohol-related cancer: aHR, 0.92 [95% CI, 0.86-0.98]; all cancers: aHR, 0.92 [95% CI, 0.89-0.96]) were associated with decreased cancer risk.

Conclusions and Relevance: Results of this study showed that increased alcohol consumption was associated with higher risks for alcohol-related and all cancers, whereas sustained quitting and reduced drinking were associated with lower risks of alcohol-related and all cancers. Alcohol cessation and reduction should be reinforced for the prevention of cancer.

22 September 2022 In General Health

We aimed to investigate whether alcohol intake contributes to lung function levels and which beverage type may have an effect. We investigated 3742 participants from the Wuhai-Zhuhai Cohort and 12,526 participants from the Dongfeng-Tongji Cohort, and they were followed up for 3 and 5 years, respectively. Information on the type and daily amount of alcohol intake was collected through face-to-face interviews. Lung function was measured by trained physicians using electronic spirometers. Compared with nondrinkers, moderate alcohol intake was significantly associated with a 70.03 and 74.92 mL increase in FEV1 and FVC, respectively (P < 0.05), after adjusting for covariates. With regard to beverage type, red wine was associated with a 105.31 and 98.91 mL increase in FEV1 and FVC, respectively (P < 0.05). Moderate alcohol intake was also associated with a 53.37 and 66.17 mL increase in FEV1 and FVC for liquor, respectively, and a 106.90 and 103.62 mL increase for red wine (all Ps < 0.05). In the longitudinal analyses, moderate alcohol intake and red wine were associated with a 67.77 and 103.77 mL increase in FVC, respectively (P < 0.05). Moderate alcohol intake is associated with increased lung function, especially for red wine. Further studies are needed to investigate the potential mechanism.

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