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Alcohol consumption and the incidence of type II diabetes

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Sir George Sir George Alberti


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Background: This study examines the relation between alcohol and type 11 diabetes and the possible mediating effects of HDL-cholesterol and serum insulin. Methods: Prospective study of 5221 men aged 40-59 years with no history of coronary heart disease, diabetes, or stroke drawn from general practices in 18 British towns, Results: During the mean follow up of 16.8 years there were 198 incident cases of type 11 diabetes. Occasional drinkers were the reference group. A non-linear relation was seen between alcohol intake and age adjusted risk of diabetes, with risk lowest in light and moderate drinkers and highest in heavy drinkers (quadratic trend p=0.03). Further adjustment for body mass index decreased risk in heavy drinkers. After additional adjustment for physical activity, smoking, and (undiagnosed) pre-existing coronary heart disease, only moderate drinkers showed significantly lower risk than occasional drinkers (RR=0.66 95% CI 0.44 to 0.99). Alcohol intake was inversely associated with serum insulin and positively associated with HDL-cholesterol. Adjustment for these factors reduced the "protective" effect in moderate drinkers (adjusted RR=0.73 95% CI 0.48 to 1.10) but the quadratic trend remained significant (p=0.02). Conclusion: There is a non-linear relation between alcohol intake and the risk of type 11 diabetes. Serum insulin and HDL-cholesterol explained a small amount (20%) of the reduction in risk of type 11 diabetes associated with moderate drinking. The adverse effect of heavy drinking seemed to be partially mediated through its effect on body weight.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wannamethee SG, Shaper AG, Perry IJ, Alberti KGMM

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health: 1st Meeting of the International Society for Equity in Health

Year of Conference: 2002

Pages: 542-548

ISSN: 0143-005X

Publisher: BMJ Group


DOI: 10.1136/jech.56.7.542

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