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Keywords:

  • Alcohol;
  • body mass index;
  • cardiovascular disease;
  • cholesterol;
  • obesity

Eur J Clin Invest 2011

Abstract

Background and objectives  Habitual alcohol drinking influences blood cholesterol profile, and dyslipidaemia often accompanies obesity. The aim of this study was to determine whether obesity modifies relationships between alcohol intake and blood cholesterol profile.

Methods  Japanese men aged 35–60 years (n = 23 834) were divided into two groups by body mass index (BMI) (normal BMI: ≥ 18·5 and < 25 kg/m2; high BMI: ≥ 25 kg/m2) and were further divided into four subgroups by alcohol intake [non-, light (< 22 g ethanol/day), heavy (≥ 22 and < 44 g ethanol/day) and very heavy (≥ 44 g ethanol/day) drinkers]. Relationships of alcohol intake with serum LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and LDL/HDL ratio were investigated.

Results  Both in the subject groups with normal and high BMI, alcohol intake was associated with lower risks of high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol and high LDL/HDL ratio, and these risks tended to decrease as alcohol intake increased. The odds ratios vs. nondrinkers for high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol and high LDL/HDL ratio tended to be lower in the normal BMI group than in the high BMI group. Significant interactions between alcohol drinking and BMI for high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol and high LDL/HDL ratio were found in all of the drinker subgroups except for the interaction for high LDL cholesterol in light drinkers.

Conclusions  High BMI status is suggested to attenuate the associations of alcohol intake with lower LDL cholesterol, higher HDL cholesterol and lower LDL/HDL ratio.