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Epidemiology. 1998 Nov;9(6):654-61.

Alcohol intake, body weight, and mortality in a multiethnic prospective cohort.

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Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, Honolulu 96813, USA.


The purpose of this analysis was to investigate the effects of alcohol intake and body weight on mortality from all causes, cancer, and cerebrovascular and coronary heart disease. A cohort of more than 40,000 persons with Caucasian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, and native Hawaiian ethnicity was followed for close to 20 years. We calculated mortality rates using the person-years at risk for each gender and ethnic group as denominators. We used proportional hazards regression models to adjust for confounding variables and to estimate relative risks. Men and women with low alcohol intake (1-7 drinks per week) experienced a 20% reduction in total mortality. At higher levels of alcohol intake, women and Asian men experienced no mortality benefit. The protective effect of alcohol consumption was limited to coronary heart disease mortality. The relation between body mass index and total mortality was J-shaped for all groups. In agreement with previous reports, this study found that persons with moderate alcohol intake appear to have a lower risk of dying than nondrinkers, but the possible protective levels of alcohol for women and Asian men appear to be lower than for Caucasian men.

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