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J Epidemiol. 2014;24(2):154-60. Epub 2014 Feb 15.

Alcohol consumption and mortality: the Khon Kaen Cohort Study, Thailand.

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Department of Biostatistics and Demography, Faculty of Public Health, Khon Kaen University.



The prevalence of alcohol consumption among Thais is high, around 30%. We quantified the relationship between alcohol drinking and mortality in a rural population in the most populous region of Thailand.


The data were from the Khon Kaen Cohort Study. About 24 000 Thai adults were enrolled between 1990 and 2001, and follow-up for vital status continued until March 16, 2012. Mortality data were obtained from the Bureau of Policy and Strategy, Ministry of the Interior, Thailand. A Cox proportional hazards model was used to analyze the association between alcohol drinking and death, controlling for age, education level, and smoking, and floating absolute risk was used to estimate the 95% confidence intervals of hazard ratios.


In total, 18 457 participants (5829 men and 12 628 women) were recruited, of whom 3155 died (1375 men and 1780 women) during a median follow-up period of 13.6 years. Although alcohol drinking was common (64% of men and 25% of women), the amounts consumed were very low (average, 4.3 g/day in men and 0.8 g/day in women). As compared with never drinkers, mortality risk was lower among current drinkers and higher among ex-drinkers. Current drinking was not associated with mortality from cancer or diseases of the circulatory system, although ex-drinkers appeared to have a higher risk of death from the latter.


The leading causes of mortality were not associated with current alcohol drinking at the low consumption levels observed in this population.

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