Does Alcohol Use Increase the Risk for Obesity in Middle Aged Males?
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Purpose: Alcohol misuse is a serious public health issue within the general population, but there are conflicting findings regarding its relationship to obesity. The purpose of this study was to determine whether alcohol use increases the risk for obesity in middle aged males in the general population. Methods: This cross sectional analysis used 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data for males ages 45 to 64 from Maine (N=1,667), North Dakota (N=1,060), South Carolina (N=1,669), and Wisconsin (N=998). Multiple logistic regression analyses conducted by state were utilized to examine the relationship between alcohol use and obesity while controlling for health related and demographic factors. Results: Across states, about one third of the sample was obese (35-38%) and about half to two thirds reported alcohol use (55-69%). Adjusted results indicated that weight status was inversely related to excessive alcohol use in three of four states. In addition, weight status was positively related to health conditions while inversely related to physical activity and tobacco use. Conclusions: Overall, alcohol use was inversely related to obesity in representative samples of 45-64 year old males. As there is likely low to moderate prevalence of both obesity and alcohol use in middle aged males, it is recommended that providers screen for obesity and alcohol use separately. Adequate nutrition should be evaluated in individuals with excessive alcohol use and referrals to addiction specialists should be made as needed. In addition, there may be moderate to high prevalence of smoking, physical activity, and more than two health conditions, and these may be moderately related to obesity. Providers should screen middle aged males for smoking and physical activity during all visits and specifically screen for health conditions in individuals with an obese weight status as these were directly related. In addition, encouragement and education should be provided on the benefits of exercise and referrals to a fitness instructor or dietician should be provided as needed.