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Open Access Research article

Associations of alcohol consumption with diabetes mellitus and impaired fasting glycemia among middle-aged and elderly Chinese

Chen Liu, Zhijie Yu*, Huaixing Li, Jing Wang, Liang Sun, Qibin Qi and Xu Lin*

Author Affiliations

Key Laboratory of Nutrition and Metabolism, Institute for Nutritional Sciences, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:713  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-713

Published: 19 November 2010

Abstract

Background

The U-shaped relationship between alcohol consumption and diabetes mellitus was observed among western populations. However, few studies have systematically evaluated the association in Chinese. We aimed to investigate the associations of alcohol consumption with diabetes mellitus and impaired fasting glycemia (IFG) among middle-aged and elderly Chinese.

Methods

We examined 1,458 men and 1,831 women aged 50 to 70 from Beijing and Shanghai China in a cross-sectional survey. Fasting glucose, adipokines and markers of inflammation were measured. Macronutrients and alcohol consumption were assessed with standardized questionnaires.

Results

Compared with abstainers, alcohol consumption was associated with a decreased risk of having diabetes mellitus in women (OR: 0.41, 95%CI: 0.22-0.78) after controlling for socio-demographic factors, physical activity, smoking, family income, family history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes, macronutrients intake, body mass index, and markers of inflammation and adipokines. In men, both low and high alcohol consumptions were associated with increased risks of having combined diabetes and IFG (ORs 1.36 [95%CI: 1.02-1.82] and 1.50 [95%CI: 1.04-2.15], respectively]. In the multivariable stratified analyses among men, moderate drinkers who had drinking days of ≥ 5 days/week had a deceased likelihood (OR: 0.61, 95%CI: 0.37-0.98) and liquor drinkers had an increased likelihood (OR: 1.47, 95%CI: 1.09-1.98) of having combined diabetes and IFG respectively, compared with the abstainers.

Conclusions

An approximately J-shaped association was observed between alcohol consumption and combined diabetes and IFG among men compared with abstainers in Chinese. Whether moderate alcohol intake could help decrease diabetic risk among Chinese people warrants further investigation.