02 August 2016 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

OBJECTIVE: To assess gender and age differences in hazardous drinking and to analyse and compare the factors associated with it in men versus women, and in 50 to 64-year-old versus >/=65-year-old people in Europe.

METHODS: Cross-sectional study with data from 65,955 people aged >/=50 years from 18 countries (SHARE project, 2011-2013). The outcome variable, hazardous drinking, was calculated using an adaptation of the AUDIT-C test. Several individual (sociodemographic, life-style and health factors) and contextual variables (country socioeconomic indicators and alcohol policies) were analysed. The prevalence of hazardous drinking was estimated by each exposure variable. To estimate associations, multilevel Poisson regression models with robust variance were fit, yielding prevalence ratios and their 95% confidence intervals (95%CI).

RESULTS: Overall, the prevalence of hazardous drinking was 21.5% (95%CI = 21.1-22.0), with substantial differences between countries. The proportion of hazardous drinking was higher in men than in women [26.3%(95%CI = 25.6-27.1); 17.5%(95%CI = 17.0-18.0), respectively], as well as in middle-aged people than in older people [23.6%(95%CI = 23.0-24.3); 19.2%(95%CI = 18.6-19.8), respectively]. At the individual level, associations were found for migrant background, marital status, educational level, tobacco smoking, depression and self-perceived health. At the contextual level, hazardous drinking was associated with gender inequalities in society (only in women) and alcohol advertising regulations (both genders).

CONCLUSIONS: One in five people aged >/=50 years in the countries studied is a hazardous drinker, with large differences by countries, gender and age group. Interventions and policies aimed at preventing or reducing alcohol use in this population should account for country, gender and age differences, as well as individual characteristics.

Copyright (c) 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

27 January 2016 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Alcohol consumption contributes to many negative health consequences and is a risk factor for death. Some previous studies however suggest a J-shaped relationship between the level of alcohol consumption and all-cause mortality. These findings have in part been suggested to be due to confounders. The aim of our study was to analyze the relationship between self-reported alcohol intake and all-cause mortality in women, adjusted for sociodemographic, lifestyle factors and diseases such as diabetes and previous ischemic heart disease.

METHODS: All women aged 50-59 years (born between 1935 and 1945) that lived in any of the five municipalities in southern Sweden were invited to participate in a health survey. From December 1995 to February 2000 a total of 6916 women (out of 10,766, the total population of women in 1995) underwent a physical examination and answered a questionnaire. We followed the women from the day of screening until death, or if no event occurred until May 31st 2015. Mortality was ascertained through the national cause-of-death register.

RESULTS: In this study a total of 6353 women were included. Alcohol consumption showed a J-formed relationship with mortality, when adjusted for education, marital status, smoking, BMI, physical fitness, diabetes and ischemic heart disease before screening. Non consumption of alcohol was associated with increased mortality as well as higher levels of consumption, from 12 grams per day and upwards.

CONCLUSIONS: There was a clear J-shaped relation between the amount of alcohol consumption and all-cause mortality even after controlling for sociodemography, lifestyle factors and diseases such as diabetes and previous ischemic heart disease. The observed protective effect of light drinking (1-12 grams/day) could thus not be attributed to any of these known confounders.

23 July 2015 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

PURPOSE: To estimate the prevalence of alcohol use at the age of 10-11 years and document variation by early sociodemographic and concurrent alcohol-specific risk factors.

METHODS: The Millennium Cohort Study is a prospective, nationally representative study of live births in the United Kingdom across 12 months. A random sample of electoral wards was stratified to adequately represent U.K. countries, economically deprived areas, and areas with high concentrations of Asian and Black British families. A total of 12,305 child-mother pairs provided self-report data at 9 months (mother's marital status, age, education, occupational level; child gender, ethnicity, country) and age 10-11 years (adolescent alcohol use and attitudes).

RESULTS: After adjusting for attrition and sampling design, 13.4% of 10- to 11-year-olds had had an alcoholic drink (more than few sips), 1.2% had felt drunk, and .6% had five or more drinks at a time. Odds of ever drinking were higher among boys (1.47, 95% confidence interval, 1.29-1.68) and lower among early adolescents who were Asian British (vs. white; .09, .05-.17) or Black British (.42, .29-.62). Beyond sociodemographic differences, more positive attitudes about alcohol were associated with greater odds of drinking (1.70, 1.51-1.91), feeling drunk (2.96, 2.07-4.24), and having five or more drinks (4.20, 2.66-6.61).

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol use in the last year of primary school was identified but not common. Its use varied by sociodemographic groups; early adolescents with more positive alcohol attitudes had especially high risks of early alcohol initiation. Results support calls for increased surveillance and screening for very early drinking.

05 March 2015 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

BACKGROUND: Ex-drinkers suffer from worse health than drinkers; however, whether a worsening of health is associated with a change in drinking status from early adulthood has not been previously investigated. We assess whether a worsening of health is associated with a cessation in consumption or reduction to special occasion drinking from early adulthood to middle age.

METHODS: Multinomial logistic regression assessing whether a change in self-reported limiting longstanding illness (LLI) was associated with ceasing alcohol consumption, or a reduction to special occasion drinking compared with being a persistent drinker from age 23 in separate models at ages 33, 42, and 50. All models adjusted for sex, poor psychosocial health, education, marital status, and children in the household. Sample included participants from Great Britain followed longitudinally in the National Child Development Study from ages 23 to 33 (N = 5,529), 42 (N = 4,787), and 50 (N = 4,476).

RESULTS: Developing an LLI from the previous wave was associated with ceasing alcohol consumption at ages 33 (odds ratio [ORs] = 2.71, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.16-4.93), 42 (OR = 2.44, 95%CI = 1.24-4.81), and 50 (OR = 3.33, 95%CI = 1.56-7.12) and a reduction to special occasion drinking at ages 42 (OR = 2.04, 95%CI = 1.40-2.99) and 50 (OR = 2.04, 95%CI = 1.18-3.53). Having a persistent LLI across 2 waves increased the odds of ceasing consumption at ages 42 (OR = 3.22, 95%CI = 1.06-9.77) and 50 (OR = 4.03, 95%CI = 1.72-9.44) and reducing consumption to special occasion drinking at ages 33 (OR = 3.27, 95%CI = 1.34-8.01) and 42 (OR = 2.25, 95%CI = 1.23-4.50). Persistent drinkers at older ages had the best overall health suffering less from previous poor health compared with those who reduced or ceased consumption at an earlier time point.

CONCLUSIONS: Developing an LLI was associated with a cessation in alcohol consumption and a reduction in consumption to special occasion drinking from early adulthood. Persistent drinkers who drank at least till 50 were the healthiest overall. Health selection is likely to influence nondrinking across the life course.

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