24 october 2023

The association between alcohol intake and obesity in a sample of the Irish adult population, a cross-sectional study

BACKGROUND: Obesity epidemic is one of the most serious public health challenges of the twenty-first century. Alcohol has been studied as a possible risk factor for obesity, but the evidence is discordant. This study examined the association between alcohol consumption and obesity in a sample of the Irish adult population.

METHOD: An analytical cross-sectional study was conducted using secondary data from the 2017 Healthy Ireland Survey. The primary survey recruited patients using a two-stage probability-based technique and a face-to-face-administered questionnaire to collect data. Descriptive and comparative data were analysed to identify associations between alcohol-related variables with waist circumference (WC) and body mass index (BMI). Regression analysis was performed to examine the associations between harmful alcohol consumption (AUDIT-C score >/= 5) (exposure variable) and obesity indicators (WC and BMI), the primary outcomes of interest. Adjustments were made for sociodemographic, health-related, and other alcohol-related variables.

RESULTS: Total of 6864 participants, aged 25 and older, took part in this survey (response rate = 60.4%). Most of the participants (81.9%) were alcohol drinkers, with the majority drinking less than three times per week (76.3%); 47.7% were considered harmful drinkers (AUDIT-C score >/= 5). After controlling for possible confounders, positive associations of harmful alcohol consumption with WC (beta = 1.72, 95% CI: 0.25, 3.19) and BMI (OR = 1.47, 95% CI: 1.10, 1.96) were observed. Binge drinkingBinge drinking (consuming rapidly four or more alcoholic drinks over a short period of time) has bee... was positively associated with WC (beta = 1.71, 95% CI: 0.50, 2.91), while alcohol consumption frequency was significantly and inversely associated with BMI (OR = 0.59, 95% CI: 0.44, 0.78).

CONCLUSION: Harmful alcohol consumption was associated with obesity (high BMI, large WC) after controlling for possible confounders. Frequent binge drinkers were more likely to have a large WC, while frequent alcohol consumers were less likely to have obesity. Further longitudinal studies to examine the exact association between alcohol consumption and obesity are warranted.

Additional Info

  • Authors

    AlKalbani S. R.; Murrin C.
  • Issue

    Periodical: BMC Public Health - Volume: 23 - Number: 1 - Edition: 20231024
  • Published Date

    24 october 2023