Alcohol Consumption On the Rise Among Older Adults

HealthDay News — For adults age 60+ years, there is an upward trend in the prevalence of current drinking, according to a study published online in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Rosalind A. Breslow, PhD, MPH, from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues evaluated gender-specific trends in the prevalence of drinking status among United States adults ages 60+ years, by age and birth cohort. Data were included for 65,303 respondents ages 60+ years in the 1997 to 2014 National Health Interview Surveys. Trends were described as average annual percent change (AAPC: overall change 1997 to 2014) and annual percent change.

The researchers found that the unadjusted prevalence of current drinking trended upward, on average, 0.7 percent per year among men ages 60+ (AAPC, P = 0.02); the average volume and prevalence of binge drinking remained stable. The results were similar after adjustment. The unadjusted prevalence of current drinking trended upward among women age 60+, 1.6 percent per year on average (AAPC, P < 0.0001); the average volume remained stable, but there was an increase of 3.7 percent per year on average in the prevalence of binge drinking (AAPC, P < 0.0001). Results were similar after adjustment. There was variation in trends by age group and birth cohort.

“Our finding of upward trends in drinking among adults ages 60+, particularly women, suggests the importance of public health planning to meet future needs for alcohol-related programs,” the authors write.

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Breslow RA, Castle IP, Chen CM, Graubard BI. Trends in Alcohol Consumption Among Older Americans: National Health Interview Surveys, 1997 to 2014. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2017; doi: 10.1111/acer.13365.