Risky drinking in the older population: A comparison of Florida to the rest of the US

Laura A. McClure, Cristina A. Fernandez, Tainya C. Clarke, William G. LeBlanc, Kristopher L. Arheart, Lora E. Fleming, David J. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Introduction: While alcohol use has traditionally been thought to decrease with age, several recent studies have shown an increase in heavy drinking among retirees. Florida's unique population distribution that includes a higher proportion of elderly residents warrants an in-depth look at the drinking patterns in the elderly and how they may differ from those in other areas of the country. However, state-level comparisons of excessive alcohol consumption are limited. Methods: We compared risky drinking (defined as ten or more drinks/week in men and seven or more drinks/week in women; or five or more drinks at one sitting, one or more times/year for both men and women) in Florida to the rest of the US. We used pooled data from the 1997-2010 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Results: The prevalence of risky drinking for those aged ≥65 in Florida and the rest of the US was 24.1%, and 21.8%, respectively, compared to 31.9% and 37.4% for all ages in Florida and the rest of the US, respectively. In multivariable analyses of those aged ≥. 65. years, risky drinking was significantly associated with male gender, younger age, non-Hispanic White race/ethnicity, more than a high school education, unemployment (including retirement), lower BMI, and current or former smoking. Floridians aged ≥65 were significantly more likely to report risky drinking than their counterparts in the rest of the US (Odds ratio=1.13; 95% CI: 1.04-1.21), in contrast to analyses of all ages where Floridians were less likely to report risky drinking compared to the rest of the US (0.77; 0.67-0.86). Discussion: Excessive alcohol consumption is an important modifiable risk factor for cancer, cardiovascular disease, and liver disease; a reduction among the elderly has great potential to reduce disease burden. Although Floridians overall were less likely to be risky drinkers than the rest of the US, almost a third of the Florida population reported this behavior. It is, therefore, an important public health concern, particularly in Florida's older population who are more likely to engage in this behavior than their counterparts in the rest of the US.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1894-1897
Number of pages4
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Cancer
  • National Health Interview Survey
  • Older population
  • Risky drinking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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