Prevalence of Alcoholic Liver Disease and Its Association with Socioeconomic Status in North-Eastern China




Alcohol consumption has substantially increased in China during the last 3 decades. Socioeconomic status (SES) most likely influences the development of alcoholic liver disease (ALD) in Chinese people who excessively consume alcohol. At the present time, however, little information is available in this field. The objectives of this study were to investigate the population-based prevalence of ALD and to identify the correlation of socioeconomics with the development of ALD.


A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 8,186 individuals who resided in Shandong Province and were over 18 years old in 2011 using a randomized multistage clustered sampling approach. Among these subjects, 7,295 (89.12%) were interviewed. Questionnaires covered demographic characteristic, medical history, current medication, and health-relevant behavior, particularly alcohol consumption, dietary habit, and physical activity. Anthropometric measurements, biochemical tests, and abdominal ultrasonography were also performed.


Among the 7,295 subjects, 624 (8.55%) were diagnosed with ALD. The prevalence rate was significantly higher in males than in females (15.76% in males vs. 1.42% in females, < 0.05). In this population, the risk of ALD was highest in the 40- to 49-year-old group. The incidence of ALD was highest in individuals who had a high level of occupation. Individuals who had received a low level of education had the highest incidence of ALD. Subjects with a low family income were more likely to have ALD than did those with an abundant family income. Currently, unmarried individuals had a higher incidence of ALD in the overall population.


ALD is prevalent in north-eastern China. SES correlates with the development of ALD. Socioeconomic risk factors for ALD in north-eastern China include male gender, middle age, currently unmarried, low level of education, low family income, and high level of occupation.