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Alcohol Alcohol. 2018 Jan 1;53(1):104-111. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agx069.

The effect of increased alcohol availability on alcohol-related health problems up to the age of 42 among children exposed in utero: a natural experiment.

Author information

1
Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Torsplan, Solnavägen 1E, 113 65 Stockholm, Sweden.
2
MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit, University of Bristol, Oakfield House, Oakfield Grove, Bristol BS8 2BN, UK.
3
Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Oakfield House, Oakfield Grove, Bristol BS8 2BN, UK.
4
Centre of Epidemiology and Community Council, Health Care Services, Torsplan, Solnavägen 1E, 113 65 Stockholm, Sweden.
5
Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Lund University, Box 157, 221 00 Lund, Sweden.

Abstract

Aim:

To examine whether exposure to increased alcohol availability in utero is associated with later alcohol-related health problems.

Method:

Register-linked population-based longitudinal study using data from a natural experiment setting, including 363 286 children born 1965-71. An experimental alcohol policy change was piloted in two regions of Sweden in 1967-68, where access to strong beer increased for 16-20 year old. Children exposed in utero to the policy change were compared to children born elsewhere in Sweden (excluding a border area), and to children born before and after the policy change. The outcome was obtained from the National Hospital Discharge Register using the Swedish index of alcohol-related inpatient care. Hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated by Cox regression analysis.

Results:

The results suggest that children conceived by young mothers prior to the policy change but exposed to it in utero had a slightly increased risk of alcohol-related health problems later in life (HR 1.26, 95% CI 0.94-1.68). A tendency towards an inverse association was found among children conceived by older mothers (HR 0.88, 95% CI 0.74-1.06).

Conclusion:

Results obtained from a natural experiment setting found no consistent evidence of long-term health consequences among children exposed in utero to an alcohol policy change. Some evidence however suggested an increased risk of alcohol-related health problems among the exposed children of young mothers.

PMID:
29053772
PMCID:
PMC6019000
DOI:
10.1093/alcalc/agx069
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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