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Background: Regular alcohol drinking contributes both favourably and adversely to health in the Western populations, but its effects on overall and cause-specific mortality in China are still poorly understood. Methods: A nationally representative prospective cohort study included 220 000 men aged 40-79 years from 45 areas in China in 1990-91, and > 40 000 deaths occurred during 15 years of follow-up. Cox regression was used to relate alcohol drinking to overall and cause-specific mortality, adj usting for age, area, smoking and education. Results: Overall, 33% of the participants reported drinking alcohol regularly at baseline, consuming mainly distilled spirits, with an estimated mean amount consumed of 372 g/week (46.5 units per week). After excluding all men with prior disease at baseline and the first 3 years of follow-up, there was a 5% [95% confidence interval (CI) 2-8] excess risk of overall mortality among regular drinkers. Compared with non-drinkers, the adjusted hazard ratios among men who drank < 140, 140-279, 280-419, 420-699 and ≥700 g/week were 0.97, 1.00, 1.02, 1.12 and 1.27, respectively (P < 0.0001 for trend). The strength of the relationship appeared to be greater in smokers than in non-smokers. There was a strong positive association of alcohol drinking with mortality from stroke, oesophageal cancer, liver cirrhosis or accidental causes, a weak J-shaped association with mortality from ischaemic heart disease, stomach cancer and lung cancer and no apparent relationship with respiratory disease mortality. Conclusion: Among Chinese men aged 40-79 years, regular alcohol drinking was associated with a small but definite excess risk of overall mortality, especially among smokers. © The Author 2012; all rights reserved.

Original publication

DOI

10.1093/ije/dys075

Type

Journal article

Journal

International Journal of Epidemiology

Publication Date

01/08/2012

Volume

41

Pages

1101 - 1113