High alcohol consumption in Germany: results of the German National Health Interview and Examination Survey 1998

Public Health Nutr. 2004 Oct;7(7):879-84. doi: 10.1079/phn2004631.


Objective: To analyse the alcohol consumption behaviour of the German adult population, with a focus on the characteristics of persons drinking more than the tolerable upper alcohol intake level (TUAL) of 10-12 g day(-1) for healthy adult women and 20-24 g day(-1) for healthy adult men.

Design and setting: For the German National Health Interview and Examination Survey 1998, a representative sample of free-living adults was drawn. A total of 7124 participants were interviewed comprehensively about their sociodemographic background, lifestyle and eating habits including alcohol consumption.

Subjects: A sub-sample of 4030 women and men, 18-79 years old, who were involved in the integrated German Nutrition Survey.

Results: About 16% of women and 31% of men had mean alcohol consumption above the TUAL. Among other factors, the inclination to exceed the TUAL was related to middle-age, high socio-economic status, smoking and use of soft drugs. Among both women and men, a high proportion of persons drinking above the TUAL was observed among those consuming low amounts of soft drinks, fruit, poultry, milk products, bread and cake/biscuits. Women preferred to drink wine, whereas men preferred to drink beer.

Conclusions: Many Germans have an alcohol consumption level above the TUAL and thus are supposed to be at increased risk for alcohol-associated diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Beer / statistics & numerical data
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Wine / statistics & numerical data