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Hepatology. 2018 Oct 16. doi: 10.1002/hep.30315. [Epub ahead of print]

Colder weather and fewer sunlight hours increase alcohol consumption and alcoholic cirrhosis worldwide.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Deparment of Medicine, Center for Liver Diseases, Pittsburgh Liver Research Center, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.
Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBEREHD), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain.
Liver Unit, Hospital Universitari de la Vall d'Hebrón-Vall d'Hebrón Institut de Recerca, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Departments of Medicine and Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC.
Fetal Medicine Mexico Foundation, Fetal Surgery Unit, Unidad de Investigación en Neurodesarrollo, Instituto de Neurobiología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Campus Juriquilla, Queretaro, México.
Department of Global Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, MPH, Boston, MA.
Cirrhosis Care Clinic (CCC), Liver Unit, Division of Gastroenterology, University of Alberta, EdmontonCanada.
Deparment of Internal Medicine, Hospital Quironsalud, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.


Risk of alcoholic cirrhosis is determined by genetic and environmental factors. Although it is generally accepted that colder weather predisposes to alcohol misuse, no studies have investigated its impact on alcohol intake and alcoholic cirrhosis. We aimed to investigate if climate has a causal effect on alcohol consumption and its weight on alcoholic cirrhosis. We collected extensive data from 193 sovereign countries as well as 50 states and 3,144 counties in the United States. Data sources included World Health Organization, World Meteorological Organization, and the Institute on Health Metrics and Evaluation. Climate parameters comprised Koppen-Geiger classification, average annual sunshine hours, and average annual temperature. Alcohol consumption data, pattern of drinking, health indicators, and alcohol-attributable fraction (AAF) of cirrhosis were obtained. The global cohort revealed an inverse correlation between mean average temperature and average annual sunshine hours with liters of annual alcohol consumption per capita (Spearman's rho -0.5 and -0.57, respectively). Moreover, the percentage of heavy episodic drinking and total drinkers among population inversely correlated with temperature -0.45 and -0.49 (P < 0.001) and sunshine hours -0.39 and -0.57 (P < 0.001). Importantly, AAF was inversely correlated with temperature -0.45 (P < 0.001) and sunshine hours -0.6 (P < 0.001). At a global level, all included parameters in the univariable and multivariable analysis showed an association with liters of alcohol consumption and drinkers among population once adjusted by potential confounders. In the multivariate analysis, liters of alcohol consumption associated with AAF. In the United States, colder climates showed a positive correlation with the age-standardized prevalence of heavy and binge drinkers. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that colder climates may play a causal role on AAF mediated by alcohol consumption. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


alcohol intake; alcoholic liver disease; climate; daylight hours; temperature


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