22 March 2016 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

BACKGROUND: Studies conducted on characteristics of binge drinking and associated behaviours in college student populations are scarce especially in France. Hence, it is important to identify risk factors for binge drinking at university, especially those which may be changed. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of binge drinking and associated behaviours across a large sample of college students in Upper Normandy (France).

METHODS: A cross sectional study was performed between November 2009 and February 2013 and data on socioeconomic characteristics and behavioural risk factors were collected: alcohol (consumption and misuse of alcohol, occasional and frequent binge drinking), tobacco, cannabis, cyberaddiction, stress and depression. An anonymous self-administered questionnaire was filled out by college student volunteers from Upper Normandy (France) either online or by paper questionnaire. Analyses were performed using multivariate logistic regression models.

RESULTS: A total of 3286 students were included. The mean (Standard Deviation (SD)) age of students was 20.8 years (SD = 2.1) with a male-female ratio of 0.60. The prevalence of binge drinking in the never, occasional and frequent categories was respectively 34.9 %, 51.3 %, and 13.8 %. The mean number of units of alcohol consumed per week (except BD episodes) was 0.78 for never, 3.7 for occasional and 10.5 for frequent binge drinkers (p < 0.0001). A positive relation was observed between frequent binge drinking and the following: male gender (AOR 4.77 95 % CI (3.43-6.63); p < 0.0001), living in rented accommodation AOR 1.70 95 % CI (1.21-2.40; p < 0.0001), attending business school AOR 4.72 95 % CI (2.76-8.08; p < 0.0001), regular practice of sport AOR 1.70 95 % CI (1.24-2.34; p = 0.001), smoking AOR 5.89 95 % CI (4.03-8.60; p < 0.0001), occasional cannabis use AOR 12.66 95 % CI (8.97-17.87;p < 0.0001), and alcohol abuse AOR 19.25 95 % CI (13.4-27.72; p < .0001). A negative association was observed between frequent binge drinking and grant holder status, living in couples, and stress.

CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights the spread of binge drinking among college students and identifies student populations at risk: male gender, living in rented accommodation, regular practice of sport, and other risk behaviours such as use of tobacco, cannabis and alcohol. These behaviours increase with the frequency of binge drinking.

22 March 2016 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

BACKGROUND: Epidemiological research on alcohol-related harm has long given priority to studies on harm to the drinker. A limitation with this perspective is that it neglects the harm drinking causes to people around the drinker, and thus, it fails to give a full picture of alcohol-related harm in society.

AIM: The aim was to compare the prevalence and correlates of experiencing harm from the heavy drinking by family and friends across the Nordic countries and Scotland and to discuss whether potential differences match levels of drinking, prevalence of binge drinking, and alcohol-related mortality.

DATA AND METHOD: Data from recent national general population surveys with similar questions on experiences of harms from the drinking of family and friends were collected from Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and Scotland.

RESULTS: National estimates of the overall population prevalence of harm from the drinking of family and friends ranged from 14% to 28% across these countries, with the highest prevalence in Finland, Iceland, and Norway and lower estimates for Denmark, Sweden, and Scotland. Across all countries, the prevalence of harm from heavy drinking by family and friends was significantly higher among women and young respondents.

CONCLUSION: This study revealed large differences in the prevalence of harm across the study countries, as well as by gender and age, but the differences do not match the variation in population drinking and other indicators of harm. The implications of the findings for future research are discussed.

27 January 2016 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

BACKGROUND/AIMS: An appreciation of the drinking patterns of population subgroups may usefully inform tailored interventions. For this purpose, research has highlighted a need to better describe the drinking behaviour of UK women. This study aims to characterise the purchasing and consumption behaviour of female heavy, harmed, drinkers in contact with Scottish health services in two cities and to explore the factors that influence the link to harm.

METHODS: Mixed methods study involving cross-sectional survey questionnaires and one-to-one interviews (5). The questionnaires documented (1) demographic data (including derived deprivation score), last week's (or 'typical' weekly) consumption (type, brand, volume, price, place of purchase), self-reported illnesses, and (2) Alcohol-Related Problem Questionnaire score. A total of 181 patients with serious health problems linked to alcohol were recruited within National Health Service (NHS) hospital clinics (in- and outpatient settings), in two Scottish cities during 2012.

RESULTS: Median consumption was 157.6 UK units for the recorded week, with almost exclusive purchase from 'off-sale' retail outlets. Preferred drinks were white cider, vodka and white wine. Increasing problems was positively associated with drinking more in the week, being younger and belonging to Glasgow.

CONCLUSION: For Scottish women, the current definition of 'harmful' consumption likely captures a fourfold variation in alcohol intake, with gender differences less apparent. While current alcohol-related harm is positively associated with dose and being younger, there is clear evidence of an influence of the less tangible 'Glasgow effect'. Future harm concerns are warranted by data relating to pattern, alcohol dose and cigarette use.

08 December 2015 In Drinking & Driving

BACKGROUND: Alcohol is often mixed with various nonalcoholic beverages. While consumption of food with alcohol will decrease peak breath alcohol concentrations (BrAC), recent evidence has suggested that mixing alcohol with diet beverages can result in higher BrAC when compared with mixing the same amount of alcohol with sweetened beverages. The purpose of this study was to examine this phenomenon using two different moderate alcohol doses.

METHODS: Twenty participants (10 males) attended five sessions where they received 1 of 5 doses (0.91ml/kg vodka+3.64ml/kg of diet soda, 0.91ml/kg vodka+3.64 of regular soda, 1.82ml/kg vodka+7.28ml/kg diet soda, 1.82ml/kg vodka+7.28ml/kg regular soda, and a placebo beverage). BrAC was recorded repeatedly up to 180min after dose administration.

RESULTS: Participants had significantly higher BrAC when the mixer was diet as compared to regular for both alcohol dose conditions. No gender differences were observed.

CONCLUSIONS: Mixing alcohol with diet beverages can result in higher BrAC when compared to the same amount of alcohol administered with a similar sweetened beverage. Individuals who consume diet mixers with alcohol may reduce caloric intake but increase the harms associated with higher BrACs.

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