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Keywords:

  • Age;
  • alcohol use;
  • beer;
  • cohort;
  • spirits;
  • trends;
  • wine

Abstract

Aims

To estimate age-period-cohort models predicting alcohol volume, heavy drinking and beverage-specific alcohol volume in order to evaluate whether the 1976–1985 birth cohorts drink relatively heavily.

Design

Data from seven cross-sectional surveys of the USA conducted between 1979 and 2010 were utilized in negative binomial generalized linear models of age, period and cohort effects predicting alcohol measures.

Setting

General population surveys of the USA.

Participants

Thirty-six thousand four hundred and thirty-two US adults (aged 18 years or older).

Measurements

Monthly number of alcohol drinks, beer, wine and spirits drinks, and days drinking five or more drinks in the past year derived from beverage-specific graduated frequency questions.

Findings

Relative to the reference 1956–60 birth cohort, men in the 1976–1980 cohort for were found to consume more alcohol [incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 1.222: confidence interval (CI) 1.07–1.39) and to have more 5+ days (the number of days having five or more drinks) (IRR = 1.365: CI 1.09–1.71) as were men in the 1980–85 cohort for volume (IRR = 1.284: CI 1.10–1.50) and 5+ days (IRR = 1.437: CI 1.09–1.89). For women, those in the 1980–85 cohort were found to have higher alcohol volume (IRR = 1.299: CI 1.07–1.58) and more 5+ days (IRR = 1.547: CI 1.01–2.36). Beverage-specific models found different age patterns of volume by beverage with a flat age pattern for both genders' spirits and women's wine, an increasing age pattern for men's wine and a declining age pattern from those in their early 20s for beer.

Conclusions

In the USA, men born between 1976 and 1985, and women born between 1981 and 1985 have higher alcohol consumption than in earlier or later years.