Certain occupations may be associated with higher rates of heavy drinking

According to research published in an open access journal, working in certain occupations may be associated with a higher probability of heavy drinking in people aged 40-69. BMC Public Health. The findings could be used to help target public health or work-based interventions aimed at reducing heavy drinking, according to the authors.

Researchers at the University of Liverpool found that jobs classified as professional trade occupations, such as construction and manufacturing, were most likely related to spirits, while jobs broadly categorized as professional occupations, for example doctors and teachers, were associated with lower probabilities of heavy drinking. The occupations associated with the highest rate of heavy drinking in the UK were customs officers and licensed premises managers, plasters and workers in the industrial cleaning process, including industrial premises cleaners. The occupations associated with the lowest rate of heavy drinking were clergy, physicists, geologists and meteorologists, and medical workers.

Andrew Thompson, co-author, said: “Heavy alcohol consumption increases the risk of physical and mental injury, and by understanding which occupations are associated with heavy drinking, we can better target resources and interventions. Our research provides insight to policy makers and employers about which sectors they can have the highest rates of heavy alcohol consumption. “

To examine the association between occupation and alcohol consumption, the authors analyzed data on 100,817 adults from across the UK who were on average 55 years old and recruited to the United Kingdom Biobank between 2006 and 2010. Participants reported their weekly or monthly intake alcohol and occupation. Heavy drinkers are defined as women who consume more than 35 British units of alcohol per week and men who consume more than 50 units per week. In the UK, one unit of alcohol is defined as 10 milliliters (8 grams) of pure alcohol, and typical portions of common alcoholic beverages, such as a 175 milliliter glass of wine or half a liter of beer, contain one to three units of alcohol.

The authors found that the association between occupation and heavy drinking differed in men and women. For men, jobs that were most likely related to spirits were qualified trade occupations, while jobs classified as managers and senior officials were most likely related to spirits for women. The occupations associated with the lowest rate of heavy drinking for men were clergy, nurses, and urban planners, compared with school secretaries, biological scientists, biochemists, and physiotherapists for women.

Andrew Thompson said: “The observed differences between men and women in associations between occupations and heavy drinking may indicate how the work environment, together with gender and other complex factors, can affect alcohol relationships. Workplace interventions to address alcohol consumption in occupations where excessive drinking could benefit both individuals and the wider economy by improving employee welfare and indirectly increasing productivity. “

The authors warn that due to the cross-sectional nature of the study, it was not possible to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between alcohol consumption and occupation. In addition, as data were collected between 2006 and 2010, it is not known whether changes in drinking behavior have occurred since then.


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Notes for the editor:

1. Research paper: “Relationships between occupation and heavy alcohol consumption in adults in the UK aged 40 to 69 years: a cross-sectional study used in the UK Biobank”
BMC Public Health 2021. DOI: 10.1186 / s12889-021-10208-x

After the embargo is lifted, the article will be available here: https: //bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com /articles /10.1186 /s12889-021-10208-x

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2 BMC Public Health is an open access, peer-reviewed journal that reviews articles on the epidemiology of disease and understanding all aspects of public health. The journal focuses in particular on the social determinants of health, the environment, behavior and occupational correlates of health and disease, and the impact of health policies, practices and interventions on the community.

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