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Am J Public Health. 2005 Mar;95(3):458-65.

Longitudinal patterns and predictors of alcohol consumption in the United States.

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  • 1David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Division of Geriatrics, 10945 Le Conte Ave, Suite 2339, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1687, USA.



We examined demographic predictors of longitudinal patterns in alcohol consumption.


We used mixed-effects models to describe individual alcohol consumption and change in consumption with age, as well as the associations between consumption and birth year, national alcohol consumption, and demographic factors, among 14 105 adults from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey I Epidemiologic Follow-Up Study.


Alcohol consumption declined with increasing age, and individual consumption mirrored national consumption. Higher consumption was associated with male gender, being White, being married, having a higher educational level, having a higher income, being employed, and being a smoker. Faster age-related decline in consumption was associated with earlier cohorts, being male, being married, having a lower educational level, and being a smoker.


Compared with alcohol consumption among earlier cohorts, that among recent cohorts declined more slowly with increasing age, suggesting that negative health effects of alcohol could increase in the future.

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