Relationship of abdominal obesity with alcohol consumption at population scale

Eur J Nutr. 2007 Oct;46(7):369-76. doi: 10.1007/s00394-007-0674-7. Epub 2007 Sep 20.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Fat / drug effects*
  • Abdominal Fat / metabolism
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Anthropometry
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Energy Intake / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Disclosure
  • Smoking
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires