Association of Alcohol Consumption and Ideal Cardiovascular Health Among South Asians: The Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America (MASALA) Study

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2020 Jul 31. doi: 10.1111/acer.14422. Online ahead of print.


Background: Observational studies have shown that alcohol consumption above the recommended limit is associated with increased cardiovascular disease (CVD), although its association in South Asians is unclear. Less is known regarding the association between alcohol consumption and cardiovascular health (CVH), assessed by the American Heart Association's Life's Simple 7 (LS7) health metrics among those with South Asian ancestry.

Methods: This analysis included 701 participants without CVD from the Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America (MASALA) cohort (2015 to 2018). Based on a personal history questionnaire, participants were divided into never, former, and current drinkers. The current drinking category was further classified into 1 to 3 drinks/wk, 4 to 7 drinks/wk, and >7 drinks/wk. The consumption of 5 or more drinks on 1 occasion in the past month was defined as binge drinking. Each LS7 component was given a point score of 0, 1, or 2. The total score was categorized into 0 to 6, 7 to 10, and 11 to 14 to represent poor, intermediate, and ideal CVH, respectively. We use multinomial logistic regression to examine the association between alcohol consumption and CVH.

Results: In the MASALA cohort (mean age = 59 years, 43% female), participants consuming >7 drinks/wk had the lowest mean CVH score. Compared with never drinkers, male participants consuming >7 drinks/wk were less likely to have intermediate CVH (0.44 [0.08, 0.91]) and ideal CVH (0.23 [0.03, 0.96]). Binge drinking was associated with significantly lower odds of ideal CVH compared with never drinkers.

Conclusion: We found evidence of an inverse association of moderate to heavy alcohol consumption and ideal CVH in South Asian men. These findings further underscore the important relationship between alcohol consumption and CVH in this unique population of South Asians.

Keywords: Alcohol; Ideal Cardiovascular Health; Life’s Simple 7 Score; South Asian.