24 June 2019 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: To compare patterns of alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm from a survey of university students sampled from universities in Denmark, England, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Switzerland.

METHODS: A total of 2191 university students (70% female, 90% white ethnic group, age range 18-25) completed the survey. Participants completed measures of demographic variables (age, age of onset, ethnic group and sex) and the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), which was the primary outcome.

RESULTS: Sixty-three percent of the sample scored negative for harmful drinking on the AUDIT (<8), with 30% categorized as hazardous drinkers, 4% harmful drinkers and 3% with probable dependence. Analysis of variance, including demographic factors as covariates, identified a main effect of country on AUDIT scores F(5, 2086) = 70.97, P < 0.001, partial eta square = 0.15. AUDIT scores were highest in England (M = 9.99; SD = 6.17) and Denmark (M = 9.52; SD = 4.86) and lowest in Portugal (M = 4.90; degrees = 4.60). Post hoc tests indicated large effect size differences between scores in Denmark and England and scores in all other countries (0.79 < d < 0.94; all P's < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: European university students in our sample mainly reported low risk patterns of alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm. However, students from Northern European countries had significantly higher AUDIT scores compared with students from Central and Southern European countries. Research is needed to replicate the present study using nationally representative samples to estimate the prevalence of alcohol use disorders among university students in different European countries.

03 June 2019 In Drinking Patterns

OBJECTIVE: A retrospective case-control study was conducted to evaluate whether frequent binge drinking between the age of 18 and 25 years was a risk factor for alcohol dependence in adulthood.

SETTING: The Department of Addictive Medicine and the Clinical Investigation Center of a university hospital in France.

PARTICIPANTS: Cases were alcohol-dependent patients between 25 and 45 years and diagnosed by a psychiatrist. Consecutive patients referred to the Department of Addictive Medicine of a university hospital between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2017 for alcohol dependence were included in the study. Controls were non-alcohol-dependent adults, defined according to an Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test score of less than 8, and were matched on age and sex with cases. Data on sociodemographics, behaviour and alcohol consumption were retrospectively collected for three life periods: before the age of 18 years; between the age of 18 and 25 years; and between the age of 25 and 45 years. Frequency of binge drinking between 18 and 25 years was categorised as frequent if more than twice a month, occasional if once a month and never if no binge drinking.

RESULTS: 166 adults between 25 and 45 years were included: 83 were alcohol-dependent and 83 were non-alcohol-dependent. The mean age was 34.6 years (SD: 5.1). Frequent binge drinking between 18 and 25 years occurred in 75.9% of cases and 41.0% of controls (p<0.0001). After multivariate analysis, frequent binge drinking between 18 and 25 years was a risk factor for alcohol dependence between 25 and 45 years: adjusted OR=2.83, 95% CI 1.10 to 7.25.

CONCLUSIONS: Frequent binge drinking between 18 and 25 years appears to be a risk factor for alcohol dependence in adulthood. Prevention measures for binge drinking during preadulthood, especially frequent binge drinking, should be implemented to prevent acute consequences as injury and death and long-term consequences as alcohol dependence.


30 April 2019 In Drinking Patterns

In this article, we critically evaluate the evidence relating to the effects of the Mediterranean diet (MD) on the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Strong evidence indicating that the MD prevents CVD has come from prospective cohort studies. However, there is only weak supporting evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) as none have compared subjects who follow an MD and those who do not. Instead, RCTs have tested the effect of 1 or 2 features of the MD. This was the case in the Prevenciomicronn con Dieta Mediterranea (PREDIMED) study: the major dietary change in the intervention groups was the addition of either extravirgin olive oil or nuts. Meta-analyses generally suggest that the MD causes small favorable changes in risk factors for CVD, including blood pressure, blood glucose, and waist circumference. However, the effect on blood lipids is generally weak. The MD may also decrease several biomarkers of inflammation, including C-reactive protein. The 7 key features of the MD can be divided into 2 groups. Some are clearly protective against CVD (olive oil as the main fat; high in legumes; high in fruits/vegetables/nuts; and low in meat/meat products and increased in fish). However, other features of the MD have a less clear relationship with CVD (low/moderate alcohol use, especially red wine; high in grains/cereals; and low/moderate in milk/dairy). In conclusion, the evidence indicates that the MD prevents CVD. There is a need for RCTs that test the effectiveness of the MD for preventing CVD. Key design features for such a study are proposed.

30 April 2019 In Drinking Patterns

This study examined changes in public knowledge of low-risk drinking, explored factors associated with knowledge level and its relationship with a reduction in alcohol consumption. Data (n=153,820) of six waves of the National Drug Strategy Household Survey, conducted during the period 2001-2016, were analysed. Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol was applied to compute participants' knowledge of low-risk drinking. This guideline was introduced in 2001 and later revised in 2009. Multivariable log-binomial regression model was used to analyse the pooled dataset. Subgroup analysis examined the relationship between knowledge score and a reduction in alcohol consumption across drinker categories. Public knowledge was better for long-term than short-term low-risk drinking, and women had better knowledge than men. Since 2010 there has been a small increase in knowledge of low-risk drinking. Although level of knowledge improved over time, it appears to align more towards the 2001-guideline, particularly for the recommended limits for men. Those who were relatively old; were women; received at least year-10 or more education; were not residing in the most disadvantaged areas; identified themselves as either light-, social-, heavy- or binge-drinkers; were currently/previously married; or perceived their health 'excellent' were significantly more likely than others to have an accurate knowledge of low-risk drinking. There was a positive association between knowledge score and the reduction in alcohol consumption among the self-reported social drinkers, heavy drinkers and binge drinkers. Tailored interventions are recommended for those who lack adequate knowledge and drink at a risky level.

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