22 June 2017 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

Background: The aim was to compare alcohol drinking patterns in economically active people aged 50-64 years before the last economic crisis (2006) and during the crisis (2013). Cross-sectional study with data from 25 479 economically active people aged 50-64 years resident in 11 European countries who participated in wave 2 or wave 5 of the SHARE project (2006 and 2013). The outcome variables were hazardous drinking, abstention in previous 3 months and the weekly average number of drinks per drinker. The prevalence ratios of hazardous drinking and abstention, comparing the prevalence in 2013 vs. 2006, were estimated with Poisson regression models with robust variance, and the changes in the number of drinks per week with Poisson regression models. The prevalence of hazardous drinking decreased among both men (PR = 0.75; 95%CI = 0.63-0.92) and women (PR = 0.91; 95%CI = 0.72-1.15), although the latter decrease was smaller and not statistically significant. The proportion of abstainers increased among both men (PR = 1.11; 95%CI = 0.99-1.29) and women (PR = 1.18; 95%CI = 1.07-1.30), although the former increase was smaller and not statistically significant. The weekly average number of drinks per drinker decreased in men and women. The decreases in consumption were larger in Italy and Spain. From 2006 to 2013, the amount of alcohol consumed by late working age drinkers decreased in Europe, with more pronounced declines in the countries hardest hit by the economic crisis.

01 February 2017 In General Health

OBJECTIVE: To describe the volume and patterns of alcohol consumption up to and including 2012, and to estimate the burden of disease attributable to alcohol consumption as measured in deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost in the Americas in 2012.

METHODS: Measures of alcohol consumption were obtained from the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Information System on Alcohol and Health (GISAH). The burden of alcohol consumption was estimated in both deaths and DALYs lost based on mortality data obtained from WHO, using alcohol-attributable fractions. Regional groupings for the Americas were based on the WHO classifications for 2004 (according to child and adult mortality).

RESULTS: Regional variations were observed in the overall volume of alcohol consumed, the proportion of the alcohol market attributable to unrecorded alcohol consumption, drinking patterns, prevalence of drinking, and prevalence of heavy episodic drinking, with inhabitants of the Americas consuming more alcohol (8.4 L of pure alcohol per adult in 2012) compared to the world average. The Americas also experienced a high burden of disease attributable to alcohol consumption (4.7% of all deaths and 6.7% of all DALYs lost), especially in terms of injuries attributable to alcohol consumption.

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol is consumed in a harmful manner in the Americas, leading to a high burden of disease, especially in terms of injuries. New cost-effective alcohol policies, such as increasing alcohol taxation, increasing the minimum legal age to purchase alcohol, and decreasing the maximum legal blood alcohol content while driving, should be implemented to decrease the harmful consumption of alcohol and the resulting burden of disease.

01 February 2017 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

BACKGROUND: Alcohol contributes to approximately 30% of all serious crashes. While the majority of drivers acknowledge the risks associated with drink-driving, a significant proportion of the population continue to engage in this behaviour. Attitudes towards drink-driving as well as personal alcohol consumption patterns are likely to underpin a driver's decision to drink-drive. These associations were explored in the current study.

METHODS: A large (N=2994) cross-sectional online survey of a representative sample of drivers in Australia was conducted. Participants provided information about their own alcohol consumption patterns, drink-driving behaviour as well as attitudes towards drink-driving (own and others) and enforcement strategies.

RESULTS: Alcohol consumption patterns differed according to age, gender and work status. Drivers who reported drink-driving behaviour and had high risk alcohol consumption patterns were less likely to agree that drink-driving leads to increased crash risk and more likely to agree they drink and drive when they believed they could get away with it. In contrast, drivers who did not report drink-driving and had low risk consumption patterns were more likely to report that the enforcement strategies are too lenient. Binary logistic regression showed that high risk alcohol consumption patterns and agreement from drivers that they drink and drive when they believe they can get away with it had the strongest associations with drink-driving. These findings highlight the relationships between one's drinking patterns, drink-drive behaviour and attitudes towards drink-driving and drink-driving enforcement.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: The patterns of associations that emerged suggest that drink-driving is the expression of a broader health issue for the most "at-risk" cohort of drinkers. The decision to drink and drive may result from a need borne from an alcohol dependent lifestyle exacerbated by a social acceptability of the behaviour and positive attitudes towards one's ability to drink-drive with few adverse consequences. Therefore, the broader alcohol consumption patterns of drink-drivers needs to be considered when targeting drink-drive reductions.

01 February 2017 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

Binge drinking represents a major clinical and public health concern. Here, we investigated the prevalence of binge drinking and its related consequences, in a population of young adults. A questionnaire was administered to a sample of 4275 healthy subjects. In the overall sample, the percentage of binge drinkers was 67.6 per cent; among regular alcohol users, 79.5 per cent reported episodes of binge drinking. Among binge drinkers, several serious consequences were identified (staggering and stuttering, amnesia, loss of control, aggressiveness, sexual disinhibition). Raising awareness about the seriousness of binge drinking may help health care providers to identify cases early on and provide appropriate treatments.

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