Objectives: The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between self-rated health and episodic heavy drinking in a representative sample of American adults. We also sought to determine ethnic and gender differences in the association between self-rated health and episodic heavy drinking. Methods: Data (n=4649) from the Third US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were utilized for this investigation. Episodic heavy drinking was defined as the consumption of five or more and four or more alcoholic beverages on one occasion for men and women, respectively. Poor health was defined as answering fair or poor to the question: 'Would you say your health in general is excellent, very good, good, fair or poor?' Odds ratio from the logistic linear regression analysis was used to estimate the risk for poor health that was associated with episodic heavy drinking. Statistical adjustments were made for age, hypertension, diabetes, current smoking, body mass index and race/ ethnicity. Results: Overall, episodic heavy drinking was associated with increased odds of poor self-rated health in men and women. In men, episodic heavy drinking was independently associated with 1.28 (95% CI: 1.07-1.82) increased odds of poor health. The corresponding value in women was 1.86 (95% CI: 1.05-2.28). In men, being Black was associated with ∼two-fold (OR=1.96; 95% CI: 1.33, 2.89), and being Hispanic was associated with ∼four-fold (OR=3.59; 95% CI: 2.50, 5.14) increased odds of poor self-rated health relative to being White. The corresponding odds ratios in women were 2.97 (95% CI: 1.90, 4.64) and 5.18 (95% CI: 3.23, 8.30). Associations were greater among blacks (adjusted OR=2.41; 95% CI: 1.81-3.22) and Hispanics (adjusted OR=4.15; 95% CI: 3.12-5.52) than among whites. Conclusions: Poor health is associated with episodic heavy alcohol consumption. Public health strategies to curb alcohol abuse may improve self-reported health status in these at-risk populations.
- Binge drinking
- Drinking pattern
- Episodic heavy drinking
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health