Page last updated:February 17, 2014
Alcohol consumption and mortality: a dose response analysis in terms of time

Low-to-moderate alcohol consumption is associated with decreased mortality. However, many aspects of this association are still debated. Researchers aimed to complement available information by conducting a dose-response analysis of the association between alcohol consumption and survival time.

In a Swedish population-based cohort of 67,706 middle-aged and elderly men and women, frequency and amount of drinking were assessed through a self-administrated questionnaire. During 15 years of follow-up, 13,323 participants died. Differences in survival (10th percentile differences, PDs) according to levels of alcohol consumption were estimated using Laplace regression.

The research found evidence of nonlinearity between alcohol consumption and survival. Among women, a rapid increase in survival up to 6 g/d of alcohol consumption (0.5 drinks/d) was observed where survival was 17 months longer (PD = 17 months, 95% confidence interval, 10 to 24). After this peak, higher alcohol consumption was progressively associated with shorter survival. Among men, survival improved up to 15 g/d (1.5 drinks/d) where survival was 15 months longer (95% confidence interval, 8 to 22). Low alcohol consumption was associated with improved survival up to 1.5 years for women with an average consumption of 0.5 drinks per day and to 1.3 years for men with an average consumption of 1.5 drinks per day.

Source: Alcohol consumption and mortality: a doseresponse analysis in terms of time. Andrea Bellavia, MSc, Matteo Bottai, PhD, Alicja Wolk, DMSc, Nicola Orsini, PhD. Ann Epidemiol. 2014 Apr;24(4):291-6. published online 06 January 2014.

A second study looked at mortality: Mortality risks associated with average drinking level and episodic heavy drinking. Data from the 1997 to 2004 National Health Interview Survey Sample Adult questionnaires were linked to the National Death Index (N = 242,397) to examine mortality risks associated with average and episodic heavy drinking. Cox proportional hazard models (Stata 12.0) revealed that (average) heavier drinkers and episodic heavy drinkers (5+ in a day) had increased mortality risks but when examined together, episodic heavy drinking added only modestly to the mortality risks of light and moderate drinkers. Limitations and implications of results for survey measurement of potentially harmful levels of alcohol use are noted. This was a Federal study that received no outside funding. 2014.891620
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