Changes in alcohol intake and mortality: A longitudinal population-based study

Morten Grønbœk, Ditte Johansen, Ulrik Becker, Hans Ole Hein, Peter Schnohr, Gorm Jensen, Jørgen Vestbo, Thorkild I A Sørensen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background: Using alcohol intake at one point in time, numerous studies have shown a J- or U-shaped relation with all-cause mortality. Mortality is lowest among the light to moderate drinkers, with the risk of dying from coronary heart disease higher among non-drinkers and the risk of dying from cancer higher among heavy drinkers. We studied whether changes in individual alcohol intake result in corresponding changes in mortality. Methods: In a longitudinal study of 6644 men and 8010 women, age 25 to 98 years, who had attended at least 2 health surveys with a 5-year interval between them, we addressed the risk of death after combinations of changes in alcohol intake. Results: Mortality after changes in alcohol intake was consistent with the mortality observed among those who reported stable drinking. Stable drinkers showed a U-shaped all-cause mortality, with relative risks of 1.29 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.13-1.48) for nondrinkers (13 drinks per week) compared with light drinkers (1 to 6 drinks per week). For coronary heart disease mortality, stable nondrinkers had a relative risk of 1.32 (0.97-1.79) compared with stable light drinkers and those who had reduced their drinking from light to none increased their risk (1.40; 1.00-1.95), and those who had increased from nondrinking to light drinking reduced their relative risk ratio (0.71; 0.44-1.14). Cancer mortality was increased in all groups of heavy drinkers. Conclusion: Persons with stable patterns of light and moderate alcohol intake had the lowest all-cause mortality. Individual changes in alcohol intake were followed by corresponding changes in mortality. Copyright © 2004 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)222-228
    Number of pages6
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2004


    • Adult
    • Aged
    • epidemiology: Alcohol Drinking
    • mortality: Coronary Disease
    • epidemiology: Denmark
    • Female
    • Humans
    • Longitudinal Studies
    • Male
    • Middle Aged
    • Mortality
    • mortality: Neoplasms


    Dive into the research topics of 'Changes in alcohol intake and mortality: A longitudinal population-based study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this