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Am J Epidemiol. 2004 Sep 1;160(5):466-74.

Association between alcoholic beverage consumption and incidence of coronary heart disease in whites and blacks: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study.

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Division of Cardiology, Clinical Hospital of Porto Alegre, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Ramiro Barcelos 2350, Porto Alegre 90035903, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.


The authors evaluated the relation between consumption of alcoholic beverages and incidence of coronary heart disease in White and African-American participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. The average duration of follow-up was 9.8 years between 1987 and 1998. The association was analyzed by means of Cox proportional hazards regression models. The authors found a positive association between ethanol consumption and incident coronary heart disease for Black men (for a 13-g/day increment in ethanol consumption, adjusted hazard ratio (HR) = 1.13, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.01, 1.28) and an inverse association for White men (HR = 0.88, 95% CI: 0.79, 0.99). There was an inverse association of coronary heart disease with rare drinking (HR = 0.47, 95% CI: 0.28, 0.80) and with consumption of > or =70 g of ethanol per week (HR = 0.49, 95% CI: 0.24, 0.98) in White women and with consumption of > or =210 g/week (HR = 0.56, 95% CI: 0.33, 0.95) in White men. In Black men, the association was positive for consumption of 140-<210 g/week (HR = 2.61, 95% CI: 1.11, 6.17). The contrasting findings in Whites and Black men in this cohort raise the question of whether the cardioprotective effect of alcohol is real or may be confounded by lifestyle characteristics of drinkers.

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