• alcohol;
  • metabolic syndrome;
  • epidemiology;
  • wine


Objective: To examine the association between total and beverage-specific alcohol consumption and the prevalence odds of metabolic syndrome (MS).

Research Methods and Procedures: Using a cross-sectional design, we studied 4510 white participants of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Family Heart Study. We used generalized estimating equations adjusting for age, education, risk group, smoking, physical activity, diabetes mellitus, coronary heart disease, energy intake, energy from fat, fruits, and vegetables, dietary cholesterol, dietary fiber, and use of multivitamins to estimate the prevalence odds of MS by alcohol intake.

Results: Compared with never-drinkers, multivariate odds ratios (95% confidence interval) for MS were 1.12 (0.85 to 1.49), 0.68 (0.36 to 1.28), 0.72 (0.50 to 1.03), 0.66 (0.44 to 0.99), and 0.80 (0.55 to 1.16) among men who were former drinkers and who were current drinkers of 0.1 to 2.5, 2.6 to 12.0, 12.1 to 24.0, and >24.0 g/d of alcohol, respectively (p for linear trend 0.018). Corresponding values for women were 0.86 (0.69 to 1.09), 0.80 (0.43 to 1.34), 0.47 (0.33 to 0.66), 0.47 (0.30 to 0.74), and 0.39 (0.21 to 0.74), respectively (p for trend < 0.0001). The reduced prevalence odds of MS was observed across all beverage types: compared with never-drinkers, multivariate adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence interval) of MS were 0.32 (0.14 to 0.73), 0.42 (0.23 to 0.77), 0.57 (0.30 to 1.09), and 0.56 (0.36 to 0.88) for subjects who consumed >7 drinks/wk of wine only, beer only, spirits only, and more than one type of beverage, respectively.

Discussion: Our data indicate that alcohol consumption is associated with a lower prevalence of MS irrespective of the type of beverage consumed. Prospective studies are needed to confirm these findings and to assess the influence of drinking patterns on the alcohol-MS association.