23 February 2022 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Wine consumption has a particular place in the culture of many European countries, and beliefs that wine offers health benefits are widespread. High consumption of wine and other alcoholic beverages among many Europeans correlates with alcohol-related accidents and disease burdens. Health warning labels (HWLs) on alcohol containers have been increasingly recommended to deter consumers from drinking. However, findings on the impact of HWLs on consumers' behavior have been mixed. Moreover, many European consumers have been found to reject the use of warning labels as a policy intervention, especially for wine, perhaps due to its cultural and economic importance.

METHODS: An online study with a between-subjects design was conducted in Switzerland (N = 506) to assess whether HWLs can influence the perceived risk associated with drinking wine and vodka, a beverage insignificant to Swiss culture. Participants were presented an image of either a wine or vodka bottle with or without an HWL presenting a liver cancer warning statement. They were then asked to indicate their perceived risk of regularly consuming the depicted beverage. Acceptance and rejection of HWLs were also assessed.

RESULTS: The perceived risk of vodka consumption exceeded the corresponding risk for wine but was unaffected by an HWL. Perceived health benefits were the main, negative predictor of perceived consumption risk. Participants mainly rejected HWLs due to their perceived effectiveness, perceived positive health effects, social norms, and individualistic values.

CONCLUSIONS: Perceived risk is an important determinant of drinking behavior, and our results suggest that HWLs may be unable to alter risk perceptions. Furthermore, a strong belief in the health benefits of alcohol consumption, particularly wine consumption, reduce risk perceptions and may be unaffected by HWLs.

23 February 2022 In Cancer

BACKGROUND: Heavy alcohol use is associated with increased risk of alcohol-related health consequences. Alcohol consumption has increased in females in the last fifteen years and females are more likely to experience exacerbated health risks due to drinking. Our group identified that females with AUD were more likely to report respiratory conditions or cancers compared to their male counterparts. This analysis sought to further examine relationships between sex and alcohol use on medical conditions by using the new 2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines risk drinking levels.

METHODS: Data from the U.S. National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC-III; n = 36,309) was used to evaluate associations between sex (female vs. male) and alcohol risk drinking levels (abstainer, binge, heavy, extreme binge vs. moderate drinking) on past year self-reported doctor-confirmed medical conditions).

RESULTS: Females were 1.5 to 2 times more likely to have pain, respiratory, or other medical conditions in the past year (odds ratio [OR]=1.46–2.11) vs. males. Significant interactions demonstrated that heavy drinking females or extreme binge drinking females were 2 to 3 times more likely to have cancers or other conditions (OR=1.95–2.69) vs. males at the same risk drinking level. Female abstainers were more likely than male abstainers to have other medical conditions (OR=1.77).

CONCLUSIONS: Consistent with our previous findings, results identify that higher risk drinking levels are associated with the presence of past year self-reported doctor-confirmed medical conditions spanning organ systems, particularly in females. Treatment for high-risk drinking should be considered in the clinical care of individuals with significant medical conditions.

26 January 2022 In Cancer

Evidence on the impact of diet, alcohol, body-mass index (BMI), and physical activity on mortality due to cancer and other cancer-related outcomes is still scarce. Herein, we reviewed the contribution of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study to the current state of the art on the role of these factors in cancer mortality. We identified 45 studies using a rapid systematic review methodology.

Dietary factors associated with reduced cancer mortality included raw vegetable intake; dietary fiber intake; the Mediterranean diet; other dietary scores; other diet patterns including low meat eaters, vegetarians/vegans, or fish eaters; dietary intake (or biomarkers) of some vitamins (e.g., vitamin D, vitamin K2, or Vitamin C); and intake of lignans. Physical activity and following healthy lifestyle recommendations also reduced cancer mortality risk.

In contrast, dietary factors associated with higher cancer mortality risk included poor diet quality, consumption of alcohol and soft drinks including juice, and, to a lesser extent, intake of some fatty acids. Excess weight and obesity also increased the risk of cancer mortality. The EPIC study holds valuable information on diet and lifestyle factors and offers a unique opportunity to identify key diet-related factors for cancer mortality prevention.

23 September 2021 In Cancer

ABSTRACT Background Reducing the alcohol-attributable cancer burden in the WHO European Region is a public health priority. This study aims to estimate the number of potentially avoidable cancers in countries of the WHO European Region in 2019 for three scenarios in which current excise duties on alcoholic beverages were increased by 20%, 50%, or 100%. Methods Mean prices and excise duties for beer, wine, and spirits in the Member States of the WHO European Region in 2020 were used as the baseline scenario.

We assumed that increases in excise duties (20%, 50%, and 100%) were fully incorporated into the consumer price. Beverage-specific price elasticities of demand, with lower elasticities for heavy drinkers, were obtained from a meta-analysis. Model estimates were applied to alcohol exposure data for 2009 and cancer incidence and mortality rates for 2019, assuming a 10-year lag time between alcohol intake and cancer development and mortality. Findings Of 180,887 (95% Confidence interval [CI]: 160,595-201,705) new alcohol-attributable cancer cases and 85,130 (95% CI: 74,920-95,523) deaths in the WHO European Region in 2019, 5·9% (95% CI: 5·6-6·4) and 5·7% (95% CI: 5·4-6·1), respectively, could have been avoided by increasing excise duties by 100%.

According to our model, alcohol-attributable female breast cancer and colorectal cancer contributed most to the avoidable cases and deaths. Interpretation Doubling current alcohol excise duties could avoid just under 6% (or 10,700 cases and 4,850 deaths) of new alcohol-attributable cancers within the WHO European Region, particularly in Member States of the European Union where excise duties are in many cases very low. Funding None.

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