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J Epidemiol Community Health. 2009 Feb;63(2):121-7. doi: 10.1136/jech.2008.077602. Epub 2008 Oct 17.

Alcohol use and fasting glucose in a developing southern Chinese population: the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study.

Author information

1
School of Public Health, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In observational studies, mainly from Western Caucasian populations, moderate alcohol use has been shown to be associated with a lower risk of diabetes. However, whether the protection is due to the attributes of alcohol or to those of moderate alcohol users is difficult to disentangle. A population with a different distribution of alcohol consumption and diabetes prevalence from Western populations was studied as a counterfactual comparison.

METHODS:

Baseline data from the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study phases 1 and 2 (2003-6) were used to examine the adjusted associations, using multivariable censored linear regression, of alcohol use with fasting blood glucose in older (> or =50 years) men (n = 5740) and women (n = 14 274) from southern China. Moderate alcohol use was defined as weekly drinking of < or =210 g alcohol in men and < or =140 g in women. The expected associations of alcohol with high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and blood pressure were also checked.

RESULTS:

Moderate alcohol users had very similar fasting glucose levels to never users, adjusted for age, sex, socioeconomic status, smoking and physical activity. In contrast, moderate alcohol users had higher HDL-cholesterol by 0.05 mmol/litre (95% CI 0.02 to 0.07). Excessive (more than moderate) alcohol users had higher fasting glucose.

CONCLUSIONS:

In an understudied population with a different pattern of alcohol use from the populations usually studied, the biologically expected effects of moderate alcohol use were seen, but there was little effect on fasting glucose. Although cross-sectional studies cannot be conclusive, this pattern of findings, if confirmed, suggests that moderate alcohol use may not affect fasting glucose, although excessive use may be a risk factor.

PMID:
18930980
DOI:
10.1136/jech.2008.077602
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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