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J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015 Feb;115(2):213-24. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2014.08.017. Epub 2014 Oct 5.

Patterns of alcohol consumption in the older population of Spain, 2008-2010.



Older adults are a growing segment of the European population and alcohol is an important cause of disease burden; thus, it is noteworthy that little information is available on alcohol intake among older adults in Europe.


The aim of this study was to examine alcohol consumption patterns and their association with demographic and clinical variables in the older population of Spain.


This was a cross-sectional study.


The sample included 3,058 individuals, representative of the Spanish population aged ≥60 years during 2008-2010.


Regular alcohol consumption was measured with a validated diet history questionnaire. The threshold between moderate and heavy drinking was ≥40 g alcohol/day in men (≥24 g in women). Binge drinking was defined as intake of ≥80 g alcohol in men (≥60 g in women) during any drinking occasion in the previous month, and problem drinking by a CAGE score ≥2.


The prevalence and 95% CI of the drinking patterns were calculated after accounting for sampling design.


The prevalence of moderate drinking was 44.3% (95% CI 42.0% to 46.6%) and of heavy drinking was 7.8% (95% CI 6.7% to 8.9%). In total, 68.4% (95% CI 65.7% to 71.2%) of individuals obtained >80% of alcohol from wine and 61.8% (95% CI 58.9% to 64.6%) drank only with meals. Furthermore, 1% (95% CI 0.6% to 1.4%) showed binge drinking and 3.1% (95% CI 2.3% to 3.8%) showed problem drinking. Heavy alcohol consumption was significantly more frequent in men. Moderate alcohol consumption was significantly less frequent among women, persons who were not married, living alone, with a diagnosis of diabetes, receiving treatment for diabetes, and with suboptimal self-rated health. About 5% to 10% of individuals with diagnosed hypertension, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease showed heavy drinking. Among those taking sleeping pills or antidiabetes or antithrombotic treatment, 37% to 46% had moderate alcohol intake and 5% to 8% had heavy intake.


Alcohol consumption among older adults in Spain is frequent and mostly consistent with the traditional Mediterranean drinking pattern. However, a proportion of individuals were heavy drinkers and used medication that may interact with alcohol.


Cross-sectional; Drinking patterns; Older adults; Spain

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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