Background: Controversial results have been reported on the relationship between alcohol intake and metabolic syndrome (MetS). We examined the association of average volume of alcohol consumed and drinking patterns with MetS and its components.
Methods: This study was conducted as a baseline survey for the Dong-gu Study of adults aged 50 years or older. Drinking patterns were assessed using a structured interview, and average volume of alcohol consumed was calculated. MetS was defined according to the updated version of the National Cholesterol Education Program.
Results: Compared with individuals who never drank, the adjusted odds ratio (OR) for the prevalence of MetS was significantly higher in men who consumed 2.1 to 4.0 drinks/day (OR, 1.53; 95% CI, 1.17–2.00) and greater than 4.0 drinks/day (OR, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.23–2.14), whereas no significant association was observed in women. Significant dose-response relationships between average volume of alcohol consumed and all metabolic components were observed in men. A usual quantity of 5 to 6 drinks/drinking day (OR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.19–2.09), 7 or more drinks/drinking day (OR, 1.88; 95% CI, 1.45–2.44), and binge drinking on at least 1 occasion/week (OR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.01–1.76) were associated with a significantly higher OR for prevalence of MetS in men; however, none of these drinking patterns were associated with MetS in women.
Conclusions: Unhealthy drinking patterns such as high usual quantity and binge drinking were significantly associated with MetS, suggesting that the effect of alcohol consumption on MetS should be considered in the context of drinking pattern, particularly in men.