Body Mass Index and Alcohol Consumption: Family History of Alcoholism as a Moderator

Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520-8205, USA.
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors (Impact Factor: 2.75). 07/2009; 23(2):216-25. DOI: 10.1037/a0015011
Source: PubMed


Recent research suggests that excess food consumption may be conceptualized as an addictive behavior. Much of the evidence comes from neurobiological similarities between drug and food consumption. In addition, an inverse relation between alcohol consumption and body mass index (BMI) has been observed. Previous research has hypothesized that this inverse relation is attributable to competition between food and alcohol for similar neurotransmitter receptors. The current study explored this neurobiological hypothesis further by examining the influence of an indicator of biological risk associated with alcohol problems (family history of alcoholism) on the relationship between alcohol and food intake. Data from 37,259 participants in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) were included in the study. BMI, family history of alcoholism, gender, and race/ethnicity were assessed as predictors of typical drinking frequency and estimated blood alcohol concentration (BAC). An inverse relationship between alcohol consumption and BMI was demonstrated. An attenuation of family history effects on drinking behavior was evident for obese compared to nonobese participants. The results suggest a neurobiological link between alcohol use and food consumption, consistent with theories characterizing excess food consumption as an addictive behavior.

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    • "A smaller Akaike's Information Criterion (AIC) indicates a better fit to the data (Heath et al., 1989; Neale and Maes, 1992; Rijsdijk and Sham, 2002). We first ran the ACE and ADE models without adjustment, and then we adjusted for body mass index (BMI) as BMI was a biology-meaningful potential confounder (Elks et al., 2012; Gearhardt and Corbin, 2009; Heath and Martin, 1994). We conducted 2 sensitivity analyses by reclassification of twins who answered " less often " into those who answered " absence " in response to questions " How often do you have an intoxication/ hangover? "
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