Alcohol consumption on the rise, finds research

Washington, Sep 30 (ANI): A new study has found that due to various factors, including social, economic and ethnic influences and pressures, more people are drinking than 20 years ago.

A UT Southwestern Medical Center analysis of national alcohol consumption patterns gathered the data from more than 85,000 respondents.

The findings, Dr. Raul Caetano said, suggest that continuous monitoring of alcohol consumption levels is needed to understand better the factors that affect consumption.

"Changes in the population due to aging, the influx of immigrant groups, and a decline in mean income level because of economic recessions can all impact trends in drinking and problems associated with drinking," he said.

While more Caucasians, Hispanics and African-Americans reported drinking between 1992 and 2002, only Caucasian women consumed more drinks per person. The number of drinks that African-Americans and Hispanics consumed leveled out over the 10-year time period.

Dr. Caetano said the team also identified several sociodemographic predictors for whether someone was more likely to drink to intoxication. They found that males younger than 60 who did not have a college degree were likely to consume more drinks per month. Being unemployed or unmarried also were identified as risk factors for males getting intoxicated more than once a month, he said.

For the study, the researchers culled data from the 1991-92 National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey and the 2001-02 National Epidemiologic Study on Alcohol and Related Conditions. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism conducted both surveys, in which trained interviewers spoke with individuals 18 or older in the respondents' homes. The interviewers used a standardized questionnaire, so both surveys used the same overall methodology. Each study included about 43,000 participants.

The study has been published in the October issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. (ANI)

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