09 August 2019 In Drinking Patterns

OBJECTIVES: Binge drinking is a risk factor for a range of harms. This study estimates the national prevalence of binge drinking and adds to our understanding of correlates of binge drinking among older adults in the United States.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional analysis.

SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: A total of 10 927 adults, aged 65 years or older, from the 2015 to 2017 administrations of the US National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

MEASUREMENTS: We estimated the prevalence of past-month binge alcohol use (five or more drinks on the same occasion for men and four or more drinks on the same occasion for women). Characteristics of past-month binge drinkers, including demographics, substance use, serious mental illness, mental health treatment utilization, chronic disease, and emergency department (ED) use, were compared to participants who reported past-month alcohol use without binge drinking. Comparisons were made using chi(2) tests. We then used multivariable generalized linear models using Poisson and log link to examine the association between covariates and binge drinking among all past-month alcohol users aged 65 years or older.

RESULTS: Of 10 927 respondents, 10.6% (95% CI = 9.9%-11.2%) were estimated to be current binge drinkers. Binge drinkers were more likely to be male, have a higher prevalence of current tobacco and/or cannabis use, and have a lower prevalence of two or more chronic diseases compared to nonbinge drinkers. In multivariable analysis, among past-month alcohol users, the prevalence of binge drinking was higher among non-Hispanic African Americans than whites (adjusted prevalence ratio [aPR] = 1.44; 95% CI = 1.16-1.80), tobacco users (aPR = 1.52; 95% CI = 1.33-1.74), cannabis users (aPR = 1.41; 95% CI = 1.11-1.80), and those who visited the ED in the past year (aPR = 1.16; 95% CI = 1.00-1.33).

CONCLUSION: Over a tenth of older adults in the United States are estimated to be current binge drinkers. Results confirm the importance of screening for binge drinking behaviors among older adults to minimize harms.

09 August 2019 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: An investigation of the risk of high blood pressure (HBP) associated with heavy alcohol consumption in adolescence and early adulthood is lacking. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the association between binge drinking from adolescence to early adulthood and the risk of HBP in early adulthood.

METHODS: We applied logistic regression to publicly available, population-representative data from waves I (1994-1995; ages 12-18) and IV (2007-2008; ages 24-32) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (n=5114) to determine whether past 12-month binge drinking in adolescence (wave I) and early adulthood (wave IV) was associated with HBP in early adulthood after adjusting for covariates, including smoking and body mass index. HBP was defined according to both the former and new classifications.

RESULTS: HBP was significantly, positively associated with infrequent binge drinking (less than once a week) in adolescence based on the new classification (overall: OR 1.23, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.49; male: OR 1.35, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.81) and frequent binge drinking (heavy consumption) in adolescence based on the former classification (overall: OR= 1.64, 95% CI 1.22 to 2.22; male: OR= 1.79, 95% CI 1.23 to 2.60). The risk of HBP was high when participants engaged in frequent binge drinking in both adolescence and early adulthood, especially based on the former classification (overall: OR 2.43, 95% CI 1.13 to 5.20; female: OR 5.81, 95% CI 2.26 to 14.93).

CONCLUSION: Binge drinking in adolescence may increase risk of HBP in early adulthood. This association is independent of other important risk factors for HPB, such as smoking and obesity.

09 August 2019 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: Alcohol guidelines enable individuals to make informed choices about drinking and assist healthcare practitioners to identify and treat at-risk drinkers. The UK Low Risk Drinking Guidelines were revised in 2016 and the weekly guideline for men was reduced from 21 to 14 units per week. This study sought to retrospectively establish 1) the number of additional at-risk male drinkers in England, 2) which demographic characteristics were associated with being an at-risk drinker under the previous versus new guidelines.

METHODS: Average weekly alcohol consumption for men aged 16+ from the cross-sectional nationally representative Health Survey for England were used to 1) calculate annual population prevalence estimates for newly defined at-risk (> 14 to 21 vs 14 vs </=14 units/week) guidelines to assess characteristics associated with being at-risk drinkers under each guideline using 2015 data (N = 2982).

RESULTS: Population prevalence estimates of newly defined at-risk drinkers ranged from 10.2% (2014 = 2,182,401 men)-11.2% (2011 = 2,322,896 men). Under the new guidelines, men aged 55-74 (OR = 1.63,95% CI = 1.25-2.12); men in managerial/professional occupations (OR = 1.64,95% CI = 1.34-2.00); current smokers (OR = 2.26,95% CI = 1.73-2.94), ex-regular smokers (OR = 2.01,95% CI = 1.63-2.47) and ex-occasional smokers (OR = 1.85,95% CI = 1.25-2.74); men from the North East (OR = 2.08,95% CI = 1.38-3.13) and North West (OR = 1.91,95% CI = 1.41-2.60) of England all had greater odds, and non-white men had reduced odds (OR = 0.53,95% CI = 0.34-0.80) of being at-risk drinkers, as they had under the previous guidelines. Under the new guidelines only: a higher percentage of at-risk drinkers aged 16-34 (32% vs 19%) attenuated the odds of men aged 35-54 being at-risk (OR = 1.18,95% CI = 0.92-1.51); a higher percentage of married at-risk drinkers (37% vs 24%) attenuated the odds of single men being at-risk (OR = 1.28,95% CI = 0.99-1.67); men from the West Midlands (OR = 1.68,95% CI = 1.17-2.42) and London (OR = 1.53,95% CI = 1.03-2.28) had greater odds of being at-risk drinkers.

CONCLUSIONS: The change to the Low Risk Drinking Guidelines would have resulted in more than 2 million additional male at-risk drinkers in England. Most groups with greater odds of being at-risk drinkers under the new guidelines were those already known to be drinking the most, strengthening the case for targeted screening and education. Additionally, under the new guidelines, a marked proportion of 16-35 year olds and married men were at-risk and men in the West Midlands and London had greater odds of being at-risk drinkers. These groups may benefit from specific education around the new Low Risk Drinking Guidelines.

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.

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