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Drinking patterns and health outcomes: occasional versus regular drinking

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Aims. To compare the health of drinkers with different drinking patterns and particularly drinkers with comparable average intakes and different drinking frequency. Setting. General population survey conduced in Eindhoven, the Netherlands (n = 18 973). Measurements. Chronic conditions, perceived general health, and health complaints were the outcome measures. Drinking categories were constructed by taking into account the frequency and amount of alcohol consumption (up to six glasses per sitting). Findings. Drinking 3–5 days per week/3–5 glasses per occasion and drinking 6–7 days/1–2 glasses were associated with lower likelihood for reporting health complaints and for perceiving one’s health as less than good compared to those drinking 1–2 days/1–2 glasses (reference group). Drinking 1–2 days/6 glasses was associated with being more likely to report chronic conditions, compared to the reference group. Those drinking 1–2 days/6 glasses were significantly more likely to report > 3 health complaints than those drinking 6–7 days/1–2 glasses. Although no differences were observed for any of the other comparison groups, at high levels of consumption (18–35 units/week), occasional drinkers (3–5 days/6 glasses) seemed to have better health outcomes compared to their counterparts (6–7 days/3–5 glasses). Conclusion. In addition to average alcohol intake, drinking pattern is also related to health.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Public Health, Erasmus University Rotterdam; Addiction Research Institute Rotterdam (IVO) 2: RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, The Netherlands 3: Department of Public Health, Erasmus University Rotterdam 4: Addiction Research Institute Rotterdam (IVO)

Publication date: June 1, 2000


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