Trends and Correlates of High-Risk Alcohol Consumption and Types of Alcoholic Beverages in Middle-Aged Korean Adults: Results From the HEXA-G Study

J Epidemiol. 2019 Apr 5;29(4):125-132. doi: 10.2188/jea.JE20170296. Epub 2018 Aug 25.


Background: We aimed to report the prevalence and correlates of high-risk alcohol consumption and types of alcoholic beverages.

Methods: The baseline data of the Health Examinees-Gem (HEXA-G) study participants, including 43,927 men and 85,897 women enrolled from 2005 through 2013, were used for analysis. Joinpoint regression was performed to estimate trends in the age-standardized prevalence of alcohol consumption. Associations of demographic and behavioral factors, perceived health-related effects, social relationships, and the diagnostic history of diseases with alcohol consumption were assessed using multinomial logistic regression.

Results: The prevalence of alcohol consumption remained higher in men during the study period and increased in women. The amount of alcohol consumed has increased in women, especially that from beer and makgeolli, a traditional Korean fermented rice wine. Older participants were less likely to be high-risk drinkers (men and women who drink more than 40 or 20 g/day of alcohol, respectively) and drink Soju, a distilled liquor, and beer, and more likely to drink makgeolli. Educational level was negatively associated with high-risk drinking. However, it was positively associated with the consumption of strong spirits and wine. Smoking was associated with high-risk drinking and the consumption of soju and strong spirits. Engaging in regular exercise and having stress were associated with drinking all types of beverages except for soju.

Conclusions: Sex-specific trends in alcohol consumption were influenced by demographic, behavioral, and perceived health-related factors. The findings will help improve the understanding of alcohol-related problems and provide evidence for establishing country-specific policies and campaigns in Korea.

Keywords: alcohol consumption; correlates; prevalence; trends.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Alcohol Drinking / trends*
  • Alcoholic Beverages / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sex Distribution