Background: The high energy content of alcohol makes its consumption a potential contributor to the obesity epidemic.
Aim of the study: To determine whether alcohol consumption is a risk factor for abdominal obesity, taking into account energy underreporting.
Methods: The subjects were Spanish men (n = 1491) and women (n = 1563) aged 25-74 years who were examined in 1999-2000, in a population-based cross-sectional survey in northeastern Spain (Girona). Dietary intake, including alcohol consumption, was assessed using a food frequency questionnaire. Anthropometric variables were measured.
Results: The mean consumption of alcohol was 18.1 +/- 20.7 g/d in men and 5.3 +/- 10.4 g/d in women. 19.3% of men and 2.3% of women reported alcohol consumption of more than 3 drinks per day. The consumption of alcohol was directly associated with total energy intake in men (P < 0.001) and women (P = 0.001). The proportion of energy underreporting significantly (P < 0.001) decreased with higher amounts of alcohol drinking in both genders. Multiple logistic regression analysis, controlled for energy underreporting, smoking, educational level, leisure-time physical activity, energy, and diet quality, revealed that consuming more than 3 drinks of alcohol (>30 g ethanol) was significantly associated with the risk of abdominal obesity (Odds ratio 1.80; 1.05, 3.09) and exceeding recommended energy consumption (Odds ratio 1.97; 1.32, 2.93) in men. A very small number (2.13%) of women in this population reported high levels of alcohol consumption.
Conclusions: Alcohol consumption in elevated amounts was associated with risk of abdominal obesity in men, independent of energy underreporting.