Internationally recognized guidelines for 'sensible' alcohol consumption: is exceeding them actually detrimental to health and social circumstances? Evidence from a population-based cohort study

Batty, G. D., Lewars, H., Emslie, C., Gale, C. R. and Hunt, K. (2009) Internationally recognized guidelines for 'sensible' alcohol consumption: is exceeding them actually detrimental to health and social circumstances? Evidence from a population-based cohort study. Journal of Public Health, 31(3), pp. 360-365. (doi:10.1093/pubmed/fdp063) (PMID:19574275) (PMCID:PMC2810212)

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Abstract

Background: The health and social impact of drinking in excess of internationally recognized weekly (>21 units in men; >14 units in women) and daily (>4 units in men; >3 units in women) recommendations for ‘sensible’ alcohol intake are largely unknown.

Methods: A prospective cohort study of 1551 men and women aged around 55 years in 1988 when typical alcohol consumption was recalled using a 7-day grid. An average of 3.4 years later (1990/92), study participants were re-surveyed (n = 1259; 84.7% of the target population) when they responded to nurse-administered enquiries regarding minor psychiatric morbidity, self-perceived health, hypertension, accidents, overweight/obesity and financial difficulties. Study members were followed up for mortality experience over 18 years.

Results: In fully adjusted analyses, surpassing guidelines for sensible alcohol intake was associated with an increased risk of hypertension [daily guidelines only: P-value(trend): 0.012], financial problems [weekly guidelines: P-value(difference): 0.046] and, to a lesser degree, accidents [weekly guidelines: P-value(difference): 0.065]. There was no association between either indicator of alcohol intake and mortality risk.

Conclusions: In the present study, there was some evidence for a detrimental effect on health and social circumstances of exceeding current internationally recognized weekly and daily guidelines for alcohol intake.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hunt, Professor Kate and Emslie, Dr Carol and Batty, Dr G
Authors: Batty, G. D., Lewars, H., Emslie, C., Gale, C. R., and Hunt, K.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Journal of Public Health
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1741-3842
ISSN (Online):1741-3850

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