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BMC Public Health

, 15:918

First Online: 18 September 2015Received: 17 February 2015Accepted: 12 September 2015DOI: 10.1186-s12889-015-2263-7

Cite this article as: Park, JE., Choi, T., Ryu, Y. et al. BMC Public Health 2015 15: 918. doi:10.1186-s12889-015-2263-7


BackgroundA recent systematic review reported that mild drinking showed beneficial effects on mortality. However, this relationship between alcohol consumption and mortality differs by race, and there are few studies on Koreans. In this study, we reviewed previous studies conducted on Koreans to investigate the association between mild drinking and mortality.

MethodsFour databases Medline, Web of Science, KoreaMed, and DBpia were searched. Studies investigating the risk of alcohol consumption on three types of mortality all-cause mortality, cancer-related mortality, and cardiovascular mortality for Koreans were included.

ResultsA total of 16 studies assessed alcohol consumption as a risk factor for mortality. Nine studies reported on the risk of alcohol consumption in relation to all-cause mortality, eight to cancer-related mortality, and three to cardiovascular mortality. Among these, only studies assessing alcohol amount not drink status or drink frequency were included in meta-analysis. The results of the meta-analysis did not show a significant effect of mild alcohol consumption on all-cause mortality 5 studies, OR: 0.85, 95 % CI: 0.72, 1.01. While meta-analysis of studies using all-cancer mortality showed significant effect of alcohol consumption 4 studies, OR: 0.89, 95 % CI: 0.85, 0.94, results of studies including all-caner and specific type of cancer was not significant 7 studies, OR: 1.02, 95 % CI: 0.9, 1.15. Although a meta-analysis of cardiovascular mortality could not be conducted owing to a lack of studies, all studies reported a non-significant effect of occasional or mild alcohol consumption.

DiscussionIn this study, mild alcohol consumption in Korean did not show beneficial effect on mortality and it might be caused by three factors: criterion of mild drinking, the subjects, and sample size. The criterion of mild alcohol consumption was diverse in included studies. The effect of alcohol consumption could differ based on subjects’ sex, age as well as race. In addition, the effect of alcohol consumption might be different from previous one due to the small number of studies.

ConclusionsMild alcohol consumption did not show any beneficial effects in relation to all-cause, cancer-related, and cardiovascular mortality. Additional studies are necessary to verify any association between mild drinking and mortality in Koreans.

KeywordsAlcohol consumption Alcohol Drinking Mortality Systematic review Meta-analysis Korean Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s12889-015-2263-7 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Ji-Eun Park - Tae-young Choi - Yeonhee Ryu - Sung-Il Cho


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