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Friday, October 31, 2008

Alcohol and Self-Rated Health in a Mediterranean Country: The Role of Average Volume, Drinking Pattern, and Alcohol Dependence
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research Published Online: 31 Oct 2008

The association between average alcohol consumption and self-rated ill-health is "J-shaped" in Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon countries, but it has shown an inverse linear relationship in the few studies conducted in Mediterranean countries, based on average volume solely.

To examine the relationship between alcohol and self-rated health in the general population of a Mediterranean country, by simultaneously taking into account average volume, drinking pattern, and alcohol abuse.

In comparison with never-drinkers, suboptimal health was less frequent among occasional drinkers [odds ratio (OR) 0.72; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.61 to 0.86], average moderate drinkers (OR 0.57; 95% CI: 0.48 to 0.69), and excessive drinkers (OR 0.51; 95% CI: 0.36 to 0.72), but more frequent among former drinkers with ≥1 year of abstinence (OR 1.30; 95% CI: 1.03 to 1.64). Frequency of suboptimal health was likewise higher in subjects with ≥3 episodes of binge drinking (OR 1.55; 95% CI: 1.12 to 2.14) or alcohol abuse (OR 1.47; 95% CI: 1.22 to 1.76). No differences were observed in suboptimal health according to beverage preference or drinking at mealtimes. Results in each gender were similar to those for total study participants.

Occasional, moderate, and excessive consumption of alcohol are associated with better self-rated health, even after adjustment for drinking pattern and alcohol abuse. In contrast, former-drinking, frequent binge drinking, and alcohol abuse are all associated with suboptimal self-rated health.

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