Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to assess the relationships of alcohol consumption to total and cardiovascular disease mortality in U.S. and Russian men and women after adjustment for several covariates. A secondary objective is to determine how this relationship varies by country and gender.
Methods: Men aged 40-59 and women aged 40-69 screened in Russia and the U.S. between 1972 and 1982 were followed for mortality for 13 years as part of the Lipid Research Clinics Prevalence and Follow-up Studies. Alcohol consumption was based on a 7-day recall of drinks of beer, wine, mixed drinks, and liquors. Drinkers of alcohol were classified into four levels based on amount consumed during the recall period.
Results: Age-adjusted mortality rates were higher for non-drinkers than lower level drinkers in both genders and countries, and there was an indication that mortality rates for high level drinkers, especially in men, approached those of non-drinkers. When mortality rates were adjusted for other risk factors they remained higher for non-drinkers in U.S. men and women, but in Russia, with one exception, there was no difference in mortality rates between drinkers and non-drinkers. Relative risks for cardiovascular disease mortality rates were similar to those of total mortality.
Conclusions: Beneficial association of alcohol consumption and mortality may be limited depending upon the prevalence of other risk factors in the studied population.