Intake of alcohol and risk of adult-onset asthma

Respir Med. 2012 Feb;106(2):184-8. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2011.11.004. Epub 2011 Nov 29.


Aim: To examine the association between intake of alcohol and risk of adult-onset asthma.

Methods: Using data from two multidisciplinary questionnaire surveys we prospectively studied 19,349 twins, 12-41 years of age, from the nationwide Danish Twin Registry.

Results: The eight-year incidence of asthma was 4.3%. After adjustment for sex, age, BMI, physical activity, educational level and smoking, the risk of new-onset asthma was significantly related to overall alcohol intake in a U-shaped manner with the lowest risk observed in the group with a moderate weekly intake of alcohol (1-6 units/week), p = 0.006. The highest risk of asthma was observed in rare/never drinkers (<1 unit/month), OR = 1.59 (1.25-2.02), p = 0.000, whereas the risk of asthma in heavy daily drinkers (≥4 units/day) was also increased, however not statistically significant, OR = 1.13 (0.54-2.36), p = 0.747. The risk of new-onset asthma was lower for subjects with wine preference (3.3%) compared with beer preference (4.3%) or no preference (4.4%). After multivariable adjustment, wine preference was inversely related to incident asthma compared with beer preference. However, this finding was not statistically significant, OR = 0.87 (0.51-1.46), p = 0.590.

Conclusion: Alcohol intake is associated with new-onset asthma in adults with a U-shaped association between amount of alcohol intake and the risk of asthma.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / etiology*
  • Asthma / prevention & control
  • Beer
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Wine
  • Young Adult