Background and aim: Dietary and lifestyle characteristics may differ for drinkers of specific alcoholic beverages and nondrinkers which would have important implications for studies of alcohol and disease. Our aim in this study was to describe differences in dietary and lifestyle characteristics associated with alcoholic beverage preference in a population-based sample of healthy study participants.
Methods and results: Data were collected as part of a series of case-control studies of alcohol use, myocardial infarction, and lung, breast and prostate cancer in western New York from 1846 men and 1910 women aged 35 to 79, randomly selected from the general population of Erie and Niagara Counties. Beverage preference was defined for noncurrent vs current drinkers, and drinkers of beer, wine, liquor, and mixed beverages. Generalized linear models for continuous variables and Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel statistics for categorical variables were computed for the entire sample and stratified by gender. Participant characteristics differed by alcoholic beverage preference and drinking status. In general, wine drinkers had higher education and household incomes, lower prevalence of current smoking, higher intakes of dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin E, and total carotenoids, lower total fat intakes and higher amounts of fruits, vegetables, and grain products than consumers of other beverages. Conversely, beer and liquor drinkers had somewhat lower education and household incomes, higher rates of current smoking, higher energy and total fat intakes and consumed lower amounts of fruits, vegetables, and grain products. Finally, current nondrinkers were more likely to be older, less educated, have lower household incomes, and consume diets less consistent with dietary guidelines than current drinkers.
Conclusions: These results suggest that usual beverage preference may encompass other health-related behaviors and underline the importance of accurate exposure measurement and use of statistical methods to accommodate these interrelationships.