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Ann Nutr Metab. 2013;62(2):91-7. doi: 10.1159/000342839. Epub 2013 Jan 11.

Alcohol consumption patterns and body weight.

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  • 1INSERM, U744, Université Nord de France, Lille, France.



The impact of alcohol on health depends on both the total amount ingested per week and the drinking pattern. Our goal was to assess the relationship between drinking occasions and anthropometric indicators of adiposity.


For this cross-sectional study, 7,855 men aged 50-59 years were recruited between 1991 and 1993 in France. Clinical and anthropometric data were obtained in a standardized clinical examination by trained staff. Alcohol intake was assessed by a questionnaire recording daily consumption of each type of alcohol during a typical week.


75% of the participants drank alcohol daily (264.7 ml per week). For a given total alcohol intake and after adjustment of confounders, the number of drinking episodes was inversely correlated with body mass index (p < 0.0001) and waist circumference (p < 0.0001). The odds ratio (95% confidence interval) for obesity was 1.8 (1.3-2.4) for occasional (1-2 days/week) and 1.6 (1.2-2.1) for frequent drinkers (3-5 days/week) compared with daily drinkers. This correlation was less pronounced in moderate (<140 ml/week) than intermediate consumers (140-280 ml/week). In heavy consumers (>280 ml/week), the intake was almost always daily. The results were similar for wine and beer consumption.


Our findings suggest that drinking occasion is a risk indicator of obesity independent of total alcohol intake.

Copyright © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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