Relationship between bone mineral density and alcohol intake: A nationwide health survey analysis of postmenopausal women

PLoS One. 2017 Jun 29;12(6):e0180132. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0180132. eCollection 2017.


Objectives: Among a variety of relevant factors of osteoporosis, the association between alcohol intake and postmenopausal women's bone mineral density (BMD) by using data from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey was evaluated in this study.

Materials and methods: Among a total of 31,596 subjects, males, premenopausal women, participants without BMD data were excluded. Finally, a total number of subjects in the study was 3,312. The frequency and amount of alcohol intake were determined by self-reported questionnaires, and BMD was measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry.

Results: Mean femoral BMD for light drinkers was statistically significantly greater than that for heavy drinkers and non-drinkers. We observed the characteristic trends for BMD by drinking frequency; the mean BMD gradually increased from non-drinkers to the participants who drank 2-3 times per week; these participants exhibited the highest BMD. Participants who drank alcohol greater than 4 times per week showed a lower BMD. In the risk factor analysis, the adjusted odds ratio for osteoporosis (at femoral neck) was 1.68 in non-drinkers and 1.70 in heavy drinkers compared with light drinkers.

Conclusions: Light alcohol intake (2-3 times per week and 1-2 or 5-6 glasses per occasion) in South Korean postmenopausal women was related to high femoral BMD. Non-drinkers and heavy drinkers had approximately a 1.7-times greater risk for osteoporosis than light drinkers.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Bone Density*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis / etiology
  • Postmenopause*
  • Republic of Korea

Grant support

The authors received no specific funding for this work.