The health benefits of moderate drinking revisited: Alcohol use and self-reported health status

Michael T. French, Silvana K. Zavala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose. To examine the association between alcohol use and self-reported health status. In particular, we sought to determine whether moderate drinkers are more likely to self-report above-average health status compared with other current drinkers, former drinkers, and lifetime abstainers. Design. Cross-sectional survey. Setting. Continental United States. Subjects. The sample adult component of the 2002 U.S. National Health Interview Survey (n = 31,044), representative of the U.S. noninstitutionalized civilian household population. Measures. Dichotomous measure of above-average self-reported health status relative to all other health states. Several measures characterized alcohol use patterns (i.e., continuous and categorical measure of alcohol use, a proxy measure of problem drinking, former drinking, lifetime abstaining). Chronic health conditions and various demographic and lifestyle factors were included as covariates in all regression models. Results. For both men and women, current moderate drinkers had the highest odds (OR = 1.27 for men, p < .01; OR = 2.03 for women, p < .01) of reporting above-average health status compared with other current drinkers, former drinkers, and lifetime abstainers. The odds dropped to 1.12 and 1.34, respectively, when all past-year drinkers were collapsed into a single group. Conclusion. Moderate alcohol consumption was associated with the highest odds of reporting above-average health status, even after controlling for chronic health conditions and demographic and lifestyle factors associated with health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-491
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Volume21
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2007

Keywords

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Data interpretation
  • Health status
  • Health surveys
  • National center for health statistics
  • Prevention research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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