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Am J Health Promot. 2014 Jan 24. [Epub ahead of print]

Does Individualized Health Information Regarding Alcohol Consumption Affect Consumption Among Risky Drinkers?


Abstract Purpose . Studies testing the effect of physician advice on alcohol consumption in a noncontrolled environment have not specifically focused on risky drinkers. Therefore, it is possible that the estimated effect of professional health advice primarily reflected moderate drinkers' responses. We assessed whether professional health advice reduced alcohol consumption among risky and binge drinkers in a real-world setting. Design . Retrospective cohort analysis. Setting . We used 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Annual Survey Data. Subjects . Five thousand seven hundred thirty-five adult male and nonpregnant female risky drinkers, with hypertension or borderline hypertension, who reported on whether they were advised to reduce alcohol consumption. Measures . Dependent variable: respondent was currently reducing alcohol use to control hypertension (1 = yes; 0 = no). Primary regressor: respondent claimed to have received advice from a health professional on reducing alcohol consumption to control hypertension (1 = yes; 0 = no). Analysis . The model was estimated using generalized maximum entropy. Results . Professional health advice increased the probability that both risky (marginal effect [ME] = .09), and binge drinkers (ME = .07) reduced their alcohol consumption. Conclusion . Our findings indicate that risky drinkers can effectively be targeted with consumption advice. This has important policy implications given that society bears the largest cost for this group, whereas moderate drinkers have been found to be relatively productive and healthy.

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