Abstract P088: Perceptions of Alcohol as Heart Healthy: The Health eHeart Study
Background: Moderate consumption of alcohol may provide protection against myocardial infarction and mortality, but also likely increases blood pressure and incidence of atrial fibrillation. Despite the absence of rigorous controlled trials on the actual cardiovascular benefits of alcohol, the lay press frequently portrays alcohol as “heart healthy” (HH). No study to date has described individuals’ perceptions regarding the health effects of alcohol, how they gained this perception, nor how that perception may influence behavior.
Methods: We performed a cross-sectional analysis of data obtained between March 8, 2013 to September 29, 2014 from consecutive participants enrolled in the Health eHeart Study, a prospective, internet-based cohort study. The characteristics of participants that reported alcohol as HH were determined.
Results: A total of 5,417 participants answered questions regarding their perception of alcohol. Thirty percent (n=1,707) viewed alcohol as HH, 39% (n=2,157) viewed it as bad for the heart, and 31% (n=1,718) were unsure. Of those reporting alcohol as HH, 78% cited lay press as a source of their knowledge, 14% cited their doctor, and 92% reported that red wine exclusively was HH. In adjusted analyses, older age, higher education, higher income, and United States residence were associated with a perception of alcohol as HH (Figure). Those with a history of heart failure (HF) were significantly less likely to cite alcohol as HH. Compared to those who did not report alcohol as HH, those who perceived alcohol as HH consumed more alcohol (median 5 drinks per week, IQR 2-8 vs. median 3 drinks, IQR 1-7, p=0.001; adjusted: 10% more alcohol per week, 95% CI 1-20% more, p=0.02).
Conclusions: Among more than 5,000 consecutive Health eHeart participants, approximately one third believe alcohol is HH and one third believes it is not. Those who believe alcohol is HH were of higher socioeconomic status, more likely to be American, less likely to have HF, and reported drinking more alcohol.
Author Disclosures: I.R. Whitman: None. M.J. Pletcher: None. E. Vittinghoff: None. K.E. Imburgia: None. C. Maguire: None. L. Betterncourt: None. T. Parsnick: None. T. Sinha: None. G.H. Tison: None. J.E. Olgin: None. G.M. Marcus: None.
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.