Estudios científicos

Mediterranean alcohol-drinking pattern and mortality in the SUN (Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra) Project: a prospective cohort study


Moderate alcohol intake has been related to lower mortality. However, alcohol use includes other dimensions beyond the amount of alcohol consumed. These aspects have not been sufficiently studied as a comprehensive entity. We aimed to test the relationship between an overall alcohol-drinking pattern and all-cause mortality. In a Mediterranean cohort study, we followed 18 394 Spanish participants up to 12 years. A validated 136-item FFQ was used to assess baseline alcohol intake. We developed a score assessing simultaneously seven aspects of alcohol consumption to capture the conformity to a traditional Mediterranean alcohol-drinking pattern (MADP). It positively scored moderate alcohol intake, alcohol intake spread out over the week, low spirit consumption, wine preference, red wine consumption, wine consumed during meals and avoidance of binge drinking. During the follow-up, 206 deaths were identified. For each 2-point increment in a 0-9 score of adherence to the MADP, we observed a 25% relative risk reduction in mortality (95% CI 11, 38%). Within each category of alcohol intake, a higher adherence to the MADP was associated with lower mortality. Abstainers (excluded from the calculations of the MADP) exhibited higher mortality (hazard ratio 1·82, 95% CI 1·14, 2·90) than participants highly adherent to the MADP. In conclusion, better adherence to an overall healthy alcohol-drinking pattern was associated with reduced mortalitywhen compared with abstention or departure from this pattern. This reduction goes beyond the inverse association usually observed for moderate alcohol drinking. Even moderate drinkers can benefit from the advice to follow a traditional MADP. 

Comentarios divulgativos:

Este estudio epidemiológico prospectivo ha podido valorar por primera vez la influencia de todo el patrón global de consumo de alcohol en relación con la mortalidad. Más allá del cuánto, se responde así a la pregunta de cómo hay que beber de manera saludable. Según los resultados, el patrón de consumo de alcohol tradicional mediterráneo se relaciona con una disminución de la mortalidad. 

This prospective epidemiological study has been able to assess the influence of the global pattern of alcohol consumption in relation to mortality. Beyond the quantity, it answers the question of how to drink healthy. According to the results, the traditional Mediterranean drinking pattern is associated with decreased mortality.