22 June 2017 In Diabetes

BACKGROUND The relationship between alcohol consumption and metabolic syndrome (MetS) remains controversial. This study investigated the relationship between alcohol consumption and MetS components and prevalence.

MATERIAL AND METHODS We analyzed 10 037 subjects (3076 MetS and 6961 non-MetS) in a community-based cohort. MetS was defined according to the ATP III Guidelines. Subjects were divided according to amount of alcohol consumption; non-drinker, very light (0.1-5.0 g/day), light (5.1-15.0 g/day), moderate (15.1-30.0 g/day), and heavy drinker (>30 g/day). Multiple logistic regression models were performed to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and confidence intervals (CIs). The analyses were performed in men and women separately. SPSS statistical software was used for analyses.

RESULTS The prevalence of MetS in both males and females was associated with alcohol drinking status (p<0.0001). Amount of alcohol consumption (0.1-5.0 g/day) was significantly associated with lower prevalence of MetS in both genders compared to non-drinkers. Amount of alcohol consumption (>30.0 g/day) did not show a significant association with prevalence of MetS. However, alcohol consumption (>30.0 g/day) showed an association with glucose and HDL cholesterol among the components of MetS.

CONCLUSIONS Our results indicate that alcohol drinking (0.1-5.0 g/day) contributed to decrease prevalence of MetS and components, including triglyceride and HDL cholesterol.

27 February 2017 In Social and Cultural Aspects

BACKGROUND: Many countries use warnings in an attempt to regulate alcohol consumption. However, there is a lack of conclusive evidence in the research on alcohol warnings to support decision-making on effective health policies. This study explores the effectiveness of two mandatory warnings introduced in France in 1991 and 2007: the first ("Alcohol abuse is harmful") is displayed on advertisements; the second (a pictogram) on bottles. Given that advertising content regulations have been implemented in some countries to reduce the attractiveness of alcohol marketing (e.g., the Evin law in France), this research also aims to explore whether such regulations can improve the effectiveness of warnings.

METHOD: In-depth interviews were conducted with 26 French people aged 15-29. The effectiveness of health warnings was assessed in terms of recall, noticeability, credibility, comprehension, responsiveness and ability to encourage moderate drinking and abstinence during pregnancy. Participants were shown advertisements and bottles that either followed or challenged content regulations. The data was analysed using double manual coding and NVivo software.

RESULTS: While both warnings suffered from a lack of visibility and noticeability due to their size, location, outdatedness and because of competition from marketing design elements, the warning on the advertisement that followed content regulations was most visible. Both warnings were considered to be informationally vague, lacking in credibility and ineffective in terms of making participants feel concerned and influencing consumption habits.

CONCLUSION: Current French warnings are ineffective and require modification. Improvements are suggested regarding the design and content of warnings to help increase their effectiveness.

01 February 2017 In Social and Cultural Aspects

CONTEXT: Transnational alcohol corporations (TACs) employ a range of strategies to achieve their business objectives, including attempts to frame perceptions of their activities in media debates. TACs aim to achieve a favourable regulatory environment by presenting themselves as socially responsible actors. However, the need to secure financial investment means they must also emphasise their potential for growth. This article investigates tensions between these objectives in coverage of the global alcohol industry in the UK print media.

METHODS: This article examines coverage of the world's four largest TACs in five British daily newspapers and one industry publication between March 2012 and February 2013. 477 articles were identified for analysis through keyword searches of the LexisNexis database. Thematic coding of articles was conducted using Nvivo software.

FINDINGS: Two conflicting framings of the alcohol industry emerge from our analysis. The first presents TACs as socially responsible actors; key partners to government in reducing alcohol-related harms. This is targeted at policy-makers and the public in an attempt to shape policy debates. The second framing highlights TACs' potential for economic growth by establishing new markets and identifying new customer bases. This is targeted at an audience of potential investors.

CONCLUSIONS: A fundamental contradiction lies at the heart of these framings, reflecting the tensions that exist between TACs' political and financial strategies. Alcohol industry involvement in policy-making thus involves a fundamental conflict of interests. Consequently, the UK government should reassess the prominence it currently affords to the industry in the development and delivery of alcohol policy.

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