Beer Consumption and Premature Mortality in Louisiana
An Ecologic Analysis
Published in: Journal of Studies on Alcohol, v. 65, no. 3, May 2004, p. 398-403
Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2003
OBJECTIVE: This study was conducted to determine whether beer consumption is associated with premature mortality across municipalities in Louisiana. METHOD: The authors conducted a cross-sectional ecologic study using tax data on the sales of beer and mortality data from Louisiana. They aggregated deaths that occurred before the age of 65 to the level of the municipality and calculated age-adjusted rates of both overall premature mortality and specific causes of premature mortality that may be related to alcohol. After controlling for potential confounders including population distributions for race, income, employment and education, the authors examined whether beer sales were independently associated with premature mortality rates due to homicides, unintentional injuries, other acute alcohol-related causes, liver diseases, cardiovascular disease and other chronic alcohol-related causes. RESULTS: After controlling for race and socioeconomic status, municipalities with greater beer consumption had higher premature mortality, with the model explaining up to 24% of all premature deaths. Beer consumption was also independently associated with homicide, liver diseases and cardiovascular disease. Neither unintentional injuries nor other chronic alcohol-related causes of mortality were significantly associated with beer consumption. CONCLUSIONS: The population-level association between beer consumption and mortality may reflect population-level determinants of beer consumption as well as indirect health effects of alcohol consumption on persons who are not heavy drinkers.