AIMS: A) To qualify the existing estimates of the prevalence of heavy drinking, harmful alcohol use and alcohol dependency by applying adjustment for non-participation. B) To describe socio-demographic correlates of heavy drinkers.
METHODS: Data came from the Danish Health Interview Survey 2005, which included a personal interview of 14,566 individuals (response rate 66.7 %), and of 5,552 individuals who completed a self-administered questionnaire containing the Alcohol Use Disorder Test (AUDIT) (response rate 50.9%). Heavy drinkers were defined as consuming >14/21 drinks/week (women/men). Identification of harmful alcohol users and dependent drinkers was based on the score of specific AUDIT questions (harmful alcohol use a score of >=4 in questions 7-10, dependent drinkers >=4 in questions 4-6). Adjustment for non-participation was performed using data from the Danish National Patient Registry.
RESULTS: In the Danish population, 20% were heavy drinkers (862,876 persons 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 672,002-1,195,069), 14% had harmful alcohol use (620,301 persons 95% CI: 439,221-944,992), 3% were dependent drinkers (147,528 persons 95% CI: 118,196-188,384). Being male was associated with heavy drinking (odds ratio (OR): 1.70; 95% CI: 1.53-1.89), as was being a single male (OR: 1.27; 95% CI: 1.01-1.61) and being a smoker (men: OR: 1.96; 95% CI: 1.67-2.30 / women: OR: 2.08; 95% CI: 1.72-2.52).
CONCLUSIONS: The number of heavy drinkers in the Danish population and the number of people with harmful alcohol use is considerably higher than earlier prevalence estimates. The number of dependent drinkers is similar to earlier estimates.