Page last updated:January 6, 2018
Alcohol consumption and cardiorespiratory fitness in five population-based studies

Poor cardiorespiratory fitness is a risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity. According to the authors of a recent study, alcohol’s association with cardiorespiratory fitness is not well described. They therefore examined associations between average alcohol consumption, heavy episodic drinking and cardiorespiratory fitness.

Data was analysed from five independent population-based studies including 7,358 men and women aged 20-85 years, free of lung disease or asthma. Cardiorespiratory fitness, quantified by peak oxygen uptake, was assessed using exercise testing. Information regarding average alcohol consumption (ethanol in grams per day (g/d)) and heavy episodic drinking (5+ or 6+ drinks/occasion) was obtained from self-reports. Fractional polynomial regression models were used to determine the best-fitting dose-response relationship.

After adjustment for age, sex, education, smoking and physical activity, average alcohol consumption displayed an inverted U-type relation with peak oxygen uptake. Compared to individuals consuming 10 g/d (moderate consumption), current abstainers and individuals consuming 50 and 60 g/d had significantly lower peak oxygen uptake values (ml/ kg/min) (beta coefficients = -1.90, beta = -0.06, beta = -0.31, respectively). Heavy episodic drinking was not associated with peak oxygen uptake.

Across multiple adult population-based samples, moderate drinkers displayed better fitness than current abstainers and individuals with higher average alcohol consumption, the authors state.

Source: Alcohol consumption and cardiorespiratory fitness in five population-based studies, Baumeister SE; Finger JD; Glaser S; Dorr M; Markus MR; Ewert R; Felix SB; et al, European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, Published early online 23 October 2017.

All text and images © 2003 Alcohol In Moderation.