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Influence of alcohol consumption and various beverages on waist girth and waist-to-hip ratio in a sample of French men and women


OBJECTIVE: The goal of the present study was to assess the association between alcohol consumption and abdominal fat deposition in France, a country where wine is the most commonly consumed alcoholic beverage.

METHODS: We analyzed the association between alcohol consumption and various markers of body weight, in a population sample recruited in three distinct geographical areas of France (MONICA centers). This sample included men (n=1778) and women (n=1730) aged 35– 64 y, randomly selected from electoral rolls. Alcohol consumption was assessed with a quantitative frequency questionnaire.

RESULTS: Alcohol intake ranged from 0–1655 ml of alcohol per week. Wine was the main source of alcohol, representing 67% of total alcohol intake in both genders. In men, there was no association between alcohol intake and body mass index (BMI) or body weight, whereas in women, alcohol consumption was inversely correlated with BMI (P<0.0001) and body weight (P<0.0002). In men, total alcohol consumption was positively associated with waist-to-hip ratio (WHR, P<0.0002) and waist girth (P<0.004), independently of BMI. Similarly, in women, positive associations were found between alcohol intake and WHR (P<0.0001) as well as waist girth (P<0.0001), independently of BMI. In a linear regression model including types of beverages and usual confounders, reporting consumption of either wine, beer or spirit was poorly associated with WHR in men, whereas wine (P<0.0008) and beer (P<0.0001) consumptions were both positively associated with WHR in women. However, there was no evidence of a statistically significant heterogeneous effect of wine, beer and spirits on WHR in both genders.

CONCLUSION: In a sample of representative French people, in whom wine is the most common alcoholic beverage, alcohol consumption is associated with greater WHR independently of BMI in both men and women.

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Dallongeville, J., Marécaux, N., Ducimetière, P. et al. Influence of alcohol consumption and various beverages on waist girth and waist-to-hip ratio in a sample of French men and women. Int J Obes 22, 1178–1183 (1998).

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  • obesity
  • abdominal fat
  • alcohol
  • alcoholic beverages
  • epidemiology

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