28 August 2015 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

OBJECTIVES: This paper looks into the socioeconomic determinants of risk of harmful alcohol drinking and of the transitions between risk categories over time among the population aged 50 or over in England.

SETTING: Community-dwellers across England.

PARTICIPANTS: Respondents to the English Longitudinal Survey of Ageing, waves 4 and 5.

RESULTS: (Confidence level at 95% or higher, except when stated):black triangle right Higher risk drinking falls with age and there is a non-linear association between age and risk for men, peaking in their mid-60s.black triangle right Retirement and income are positively associated with a higher risk for women but not for men.black triangle right Education and smoking are positively associated for both sexes.black triangle right Loneliness and depression are not associated.black triangle right Caring responsibilities reduce risk among women.black triangle right Single, separated or divorced men show a greater risk of harmful drinking (at 10% confidence level).black triangle right For women, being younger and having a higher income at baseline increase the probability of becoming a higher risk alcohol drinker over time.black triangle right For men, not eating healthily, being younger and having a higher income increase the probability of becoming a higher risk alcohol drinker. Furthermore, the presence of children living in the household, being lonely, being older and having a lower income are associated with ceasing to be a higher risk alcohol drinker over time.

CONCLUSIONS: Several socioeconomic factors found to be associated with high-risk alcohol consumption behaviour among older people would align with those promoted by the 'successful ageing' policy framework.

28 August 2015 In Cardiovascular System

Despite the equipoise regarding alcohol's cardiovascular effects and absence of relevant rigorous controlled trials, the lay press frequently portrays alcohol as "heart healthy." The public perception of alcohol's heart effects, the sources of those perceptions, and how they may affect behavior are unknown. We performed a cross-sectional analysis of data obtained from March 2013 to September 2014 from consecutive participants enrolled in the Health eHeart Study. Of 5,582 participants, 1,707 (30%) viewed alcohol as heart healthy, 2,157 (39%) viewed it as unhealthy, and 1,718 (31%) were unsure. Of those reporting alcohol as heart healthy, 80% cited lay press as a source of their knowledge. After adjustment, older age (odds ratio 1.11), higher education (odds ratio 1.37), higher income (odds ratio 1.07), US residence (odds ratio 1.63), and coronary artery disease (odds ratio 1.51) were associated with perception of alcohol as heart healthy (all p <0.003). Ever smokers (odds ratio 0.76, p = 0.004) and those with heart failure (odds ratio 0.5, p = 0.01) were less likely to cite alcohol as heart healthy. Those perceiving alcohol as heart healthy consumed on average 47% more alcohol on a regular basis (95% confidence interval 27% to 66%, p <0.001). In conclusion, of >5,000 consecutive Health eHeart participants, approximately 1/3 believed alcohol to be heart healthy, and the majority cited the lay press as the origin of that perception. Those with a perception of alcohol as heart healthy drink substantially more alcohol.

23 July 2015 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

AIMS: To estimate the level of alcohol consumption and problems among adolescents in city districts in Oslo, Norway with different socio-economic composition; to test whether differences in alcohol consumption are related to district differences in socio-demographic characteristics; and to analyse whether such associations remain significant after controlling for individual-level variables.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey using multi-level linear regression analyses with individual responses at the lowest level and city-district data at the highest level.

SETTING: Oslo, Norway.

PARTICIPANTS: A total of 6635 secondary school students, in 62 schools, living in 15 different city districts.

MEASUREMENTS: Frequency of alcohol consumption and alcohol intoxication; alcohol problems; and individual characteristics such as immigrant status, religious involvement and parental norms with regard to alcohol. Socio-economic indicators in city districts, such as education, income and unemployment, were combined into a district-level socio-economic index (DLSI).

FINDINGS: DLSI scores were related positively to alcohol use (r = 0.31, P < 0.01) and alcohol intoxication (r = 0.25, P < 0.01) but negatively to alcohol problems among alcohol users (r = -0.18, P < 0.01). DLSI scores remained significant for alcohol consumption and alcohol intoxication, after controlling for individual-level variables (P < 0.01), but this was not the case for alcohol problems.

CONCLUSION: Adolescents in affluent areas of Oslo, Norway report the highest levels of alcohol consumption and alcohol intoxication of all areas; neighbourhood characteristics such as education, income and unemployment levels seem to play a role in such drinking behaviour. Alcohol users in poorer districts reported more alcohol problems than those in other districts; however, here neighbourhood effects do not seem to play a role.

This study investigated whether underage drinkers with varied media use patterns differentially consume popular brands of alcohol. A survey was conducted with a national online panel of 1,032 underage youth 13-20 years of age who had consumed at least 1 drink in the past 30 days. A latent class analysis identified four distinct media use patterns. Further analyses explored whether these media use groups differentially consumed the most frequently used alcohol brands. The results showed that past 30-day consumption of specific alcohol brands differed significantly across the four media use clusters, even after controlling for sex, race/ethnicity, household income, U.S. geographic region, frequency of parent's alcohol overconsumption, cigarette smoking, and seatbelt use. This study shows that youth use media in different ways, and this differential use is significantly associated with the consumption of specific alcohol brands. The media clusters revealed in this analysis may inform future research about the association between specific alcohol media exposures and individual brand consumption.

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