Patterns and correlates of alcohol consumption among African-American women

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Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to assess patterns and correlates of alcohol consumption among African-American women. Methods: We used postal questionnaires to collect data in 1995 on alcohol consumption and on demographic, medical, and behavioral factors from 64,500 African-American women aged 21-69 years from across the United States enrolled in the Black Women's Health Study. We used logistic regression analysis to assess the association of consumption with potential correlates. Results: The prevalence of current drinking was highest (31.1%) among women 40-49 years of age, and lowest (23.1%) among women aged 21-29. In every region, heavy drinking (at least 14 drinks a week), reported by about 8% of current drinkers, was associated with current smoking, lower educational attainment, commencement of drinking at younger ages and, particularly, consumption of greater amounts of alcohol in the early years of drinking. Conclusion: Alcoholic beverage consumption in later life is strongly related to early patterns. Heavy consumption is associated with smoking and lower levels of education.

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