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.