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Int J Epidemiol. 1999 Dec;28(6):1066-72.

The relationship between alcohol consumption, health indicators and mortality in the German population.

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  • 1Freie Universität Berlin, Institut für Soziale Medizin, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The patterns of total alcohol, beer and wine consumption were evaluated in the German National Health Surveys. The impact of these habits on cardiovascular and all-cause mortality as well as cardiovascular risk factors and liver disease parameters was estimated.

METHODS:

Independent representative samples of the German population (15,400 people), and regional samples of the Berlin-Spandau population (2,370 in total), aged 25-69 years, were analysed. The amount and frequency of alcohol consumption was assessed with standardized questionnaires. Biochemical analyses included serum lipids and gamma-glutamyl-transpeptidase (Gamma GT). Multiple analyses of variance were used to determine the relationship between alcohol intake and biochemical parameters. A mortality follow-up of about 7 years was conducted for the Berlin-Spandau population. Proportional hazard models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) for all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.

RESULTS:

Over 80% of men and 55% of women in Germany drink alcohol on a regular base. The majority of the consumers (65% of men, 87% of women) are light (1-20 g/day) or moderate (21-40 g/day) drinkers. Higher serum high density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol and Gamma GT levels were observed with increasing alcohol intake. In light and moderate drinkers no significant relationship was seen with non-HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and body mass index, compared to teetotallers. Men who consumed 1-20 g alcohol/day had a significantly lower all-cause and cardiovascular mortality. As compared to nondrinkers, the risk was almost 50% lower.

CONCLUSION:

The results suggest that light (and possibly moderate) alcohol consumption reduces the risk of cardiovascular and total mortality risk and is favourably related to HDL-cholesterol.

PMID:
10661649
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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