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Eur J Public Health. 2018 Jun 1;28(3):527-532. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckx193.

Health behaviours as a predictor of quitting hazardous alcohol use in the Stockholm Public Health Cohort.

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Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
Centre for Epidemiology and Community Medicine, Stockholm Health Care District, Stockholm, Sweden.
Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
The Swedish Council for Information on Alcohol and Other Drugs (CAN), Stockholm, Sweden.



Adopting healthy behaviours may facilitate the transition from hazardous to non-hazardous use of alcohol, yet, longitudinal studies of health behaviours in relation to the cessation of hazardous alcohol use are rare. We addressed this question using data from a large population-based cohort of adults in Sweden (Stockholm Public Health Cohort).


Participants from two sub-cohorts (inception in 2002 and 2010), with follow-up until the year 2014 were included. Health behaviours (tobacco use, diet and physical activity) and alcohol use were self-reported in questionnaire-based surveys. Hazardous alcohol use was defined as either usual weekly consumption (2002 sub-cohort) or heavy occasional alcohol consumption (2010 sub-cohort). Baseline hazardous drinkers with complete data constituted the analytical sample (n = 8946). Logistic regression was used to calculate the Odds Ratios and their 95% confidence intervals of quitting hazardous alcohol use, with tobacco use, diet and physical activity as predictors of change.


In the 2002 sub-cohort, 28% reported non-hazardous use sustained through two consecutive follow-up points. In the 2010 sub-cohort, 36% of the participants reported non-hazardous use of alcohol at follow-up. Favourable health behaviours at baseline (e.g. no tobacco use, sufficient fruit intake and physical activity) were associated with a 19% to 75% higher of odds quitting hazardous alcohol use. Further, favourable changes in diet and tobacco cessation were associated with non-hazardous alcohol use at follow-up.


As many as one-third of hazardous alcohol users may quit this drinking pattern in a medium-long term. Holding or achieving a healthy lifestyle may facilitate this transition.


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