Page last updated: June 2019

Willingness to adhere to current UK low-risk alcohol guidelines to potentially reduce dementia risk

People over 50 are increasing their alcohol intake, and potentially could also be increasing their risk of dementia according to a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. The study investigated whether people would be willing to adhere to current United Kingdom (UK, “low-risk”) alcohol guidelines to reduce dementia risk.

A national cross-sectional online survey recruited a sample of 3,948 individuals aged 50 and over without dementia in the UK. Self-reported willingness to comply with low-risk guidelines was predicted using logistic regression. Other relevant self-reported variables included physical health, lifestyle, and current alcohol intake.

90% of the sample reported drinking alcohol at least once a month with 23% (n = 795) exceeding the low-risk guidelines (> 14 units per week). A larger proportion of men, those who were overweight, and people without a partner reported drinking above the recommended level. Most people who consumed alcohol (74.3%) appeared willing to adhere to low-risk guidelines if they were told that their risk of having dementia could be reduced. Increased willingness was found in women (OR 1.81), in people who had at least one child (OR 1.36), and those who slept well (OR 1.45). People who were obese (OR 0.72), those who drank alcohol above limits (OR 0.13), and those who were smokers (OR 0.56) were less willing to adhere to current guidelines.

Men and people with more lifestyle risk factors for common chronic diseases (e.g., smoking, obesity, and excess alcohol consumption) are less willing to adhere to current alcohol low-risk guidelines to reduce dementia risk, the authors conclude.

Source: Willingness to Adhere to Current UK Low-Risk Alcohol Guidelines to Potentially Reduce Dementia Risk: A National Survey of People Aged 50 and Over. Oliveira D, Jones KA, Ogollah R, Ozupek S, Hogervorst E, Orrell M. J Alzheimers Dis. 2019 May 20.
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