Alcohol consumption among urban, suburban, and rural Veterans Affairs outpatients.
ABSTRACT United States rural residents tend toward poorer health than urban residents. Although alcohol use is associated with multiple medical conditions and can be reduced via brief primary care-based interventions, it is unknown whether alcohol consumption differs by rurality among primary care patients. We sought to describe alcohol consumption among urban, suburban, and rural Veterans Affairs (VA) outpatients.
Outpatients from 7 VA facilities responded to mailed surveys that included the validated Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test Consumption (AUDIT-C) screening questionnaire. The ZIP code approximation of the US Department of Agriculture's rural-urban commuting area (RUCA) codes classified participants into urban, suburban, and rural areas. For each area, adjusted logistic regression models estimated the prevalence of past-year abstinence among all participants and unhealthy alcohol use (AUDIT-C ≥ 3 for women and ≥ 4 for men) among drinkers.
Among 33,883 outpatients, 14,967 (44%) reported abstinence. Among 18,916 drinkers, 8,524 (45%) screened positive for unhealthy alcohol use. The adjusted prevalence of abstinence was lowest in urban residents (43%, 95% CI 42%-43%) with significantly higher rates in both suburban and rural residents [45% (44%-46%) and 46% (45%-47%), respectively]. No significant differences were observed in the adjusted prevalence of unhealthy alcohol use among drinkers.
Abstinence is slightly more common among rural and suburban than urban VA outpatients, but unhealthy alcohol use does not vary by rurality. As the VA and other health systems implement evidence-based care for unhealthy alcohol use, more research is needed to identify whether preventive strategies targeted to high-risk areas are needed.
SourceAvailable from: Alison J Kennedy[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Alcohol consumption patterns nationally and internationally have been identified as elevated in rural and remote populations. In the general Australian population, 20.5% of adult males and 16.9% of adult females drink at short-term, high-risk levels. Farmers are more likely to drink excessively than those living in major cities. This study seeks to explore the relationships between farmers' physical and mental health and their alcohol consumption patterns. Our hypothesis is that farmers consume alcohol at high-risk levels more often than the Australian average and that this consumption is associated with obesity and psychological distress. Cross-sectional descriptive data were collected within Australian farming communities from 1,792 consenting adults in 97 locations across Australia. Data on anthropometric measurements, general physical attributes and biochemical assessments were used to explore the interrelationships of self-reported alcohol consumption patterns with obesity, psychological distress, and other physical health parameters. There was a higher prevalence of short-term, high-risk alcohol consumption (56.9% in men and 27.5% in women) reported in the study compared with national data. There was also a significant positive association between the prevalence of high-risk alcohol consumption and the prevalence of obesity and abdominal adiposity in psychologically distressed participants. The prevalence of short-term, high-risk alcohol consumption practices in this cohort of farming men and women is significantly higher than the Australian average. These consumption practices are coupled with a range of other measurable health issues within the farming population, such as obesity, hypertension, psychological distress, and age.The Journal of Rural Health 06/2013; 29(3):311-319. DOI:10.1111/jrh.12001 · 1.77 Impact Factor