Submitted to: Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP)
Publication Type: Research Technical Update
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/4/2010
Publication Date: 3/8/2010
Citation: Guenther, P.M., Bowman, S.A., Goldman, J.D. 2010. Alcoholic beverage consumption by adults 21 years and over in the United States: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2003-2006. Technical Report. Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion and Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Available: www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/DietaryGuidelines/2010/Meeting5/AlcoholicBeveragesConsumption.pdf.
Interpretive Summary: The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) provides recommendations for adults who drink alcoholic beverages on consumption of alcoholic drinks: no more than one drink for women and two drinks for men in a day, should they ever drink alcoholic beverages. The DGA are revised every five years to reflect current science. A set of analyses using data on alcoholic beverage consumption available in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2006 was conducted to answer questions raised by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, Ethanol Subcommittee. The survey instruments are: What We Eat In America (WWEIA), NHANES, which collects information from participants on foods and beverages consumed in the past 24 hours, and the Alcohol Use Questionnaire (ALQ) and the Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ), which collect different types of data related to alcoholic beverage consumption during the past one-year period. The ALQ asks about the average number of drinks consumed on the days the respondent drinks alcoholic beverages. The FFQ asks about the frequency of drinking beer, wine, and liquor or mixed drinks. One drink is defined as 12 fluid ounces of beer, 5 fluid ounces of wine, or one and one-half fluid ounces of liquor. Adults ages 21 years and older are included in the analyses. In the WWEIA, about one-third of the men and one-sixth of the women reported drinking an alcoholic beverage on a given day during 2003-2006. More men than women drank beer (23% vs. 7%) or mixed drinks (7% vs.3.5%), and about 6% of men and women each drank wine. However, by looking at the pattern of consumption of alcoholic beverages using the ALQ, about 76% of men and 65% of women consumed some type of alcoholic beverage, at least once in the past one-year period. Also, about 22% of men had five or more drinks on their drinking days, and about 13% women had four or more drinks. From the WWEIA 24-hour dietary recall data, men and women obtained about 8% and 5% of total energy from alcoholic beverages, respectively.
Technical Abstract: The study described in the Technical Report was conducted to answer specific questions from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, Ethanol Subcommittee. The study uses data from three different instruments pertaining to alcoholic beverage intakes of adults 21 years and older in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2006. The questions address the following: the percentages of adults consuming different alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, distilled spirits, and mixed alcoholic drinks; the distribution of the number of alcoholic beverages consumed in a day, what percentages of men drank five or more drinks a day and women four drinks or more; and among those who drank, what was the contribution of alcoholic beverages to intakes of energy and selected macronutrients? Appropriate survey sample weights are used in the data analyses based on the three instruments selected: 24-hour dietary recall data from the What We Eat In America (WWEIA), NHANES; the Alcohol Use Questionnaire (ALQ); and the Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ). The WWEIA analysis shows that about 33% of men and 17% of women consumed some amount of an alcoholic beverage on a given day. Men were about three times more likely as women to drink beer (23% vs. 7%); twice as likely to drink mixed drinks (7% vs.3.5%); and 6% of men and 7% of women drank wine on a given day. Looking at the alcoholic beverage consumption pattern in the ALQ, about 76% of men and 65% of women reported consuming some alcoholic beverage at least once in the past one-year period. Also, about 22% of men had five or more drinks on their drinking days, and about 13% women had four or more drinks. The WWEIA, NHANES data showed that alcoholic beverages provide about 8% and about 5% of total energy for men and women, respectively.