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

By G. David Batty, Heather Lewars, Carol Emslie, Catharine R. Gale and Kate Hunt


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

Topics: R1, HN
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.soton.ac.uk:71746
Provided by: e-Prints Soton

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