The primary objective was to investigate the prevalence and factors associated with elevated alcohol consumption among older adults 65 years and above in China and Norway. The secondary objective was to compare the prevalence and factors in the two countries.
A secondary data analysis was conducted using two large cross-sectional studies (Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey data in 2008-2009 and Nord-Trøndelag Health Study data in 2006-2008).
A total of 3223 (weighted) Chinese older adults and 6210 Norwegian older adults who responded drinking alcohol were included in the analysis.
The dependent variable was elevated alcohol consumption, which was calculated as a ratio of those with elevated drinking among current drinkers. Multivariable logistic regression was used to test the dependent variable.
The prevalence of elevated alcohol consumption among current drinkers for the Chinese and Norwegian samples were 78.3% (weighted) and 5.1%, respectively. Being male was related to a higher likelihood of elevated alcohol consumption in both Chinese and Norwegian samples (OR=2.729, 95% CI 2.124 to 3.506, OR=2.638, 95% CI 1.942 to 3.585). Being older, with higher levels of education and a living spouse or partner were less likely to have elevated drinking in the Chinese sample (OR=0.497, 95% CI 0.312 to 0.794, OR=0.411, 95% CI 0.260 to 0.649, OR=0.533, 95% CI 0.417 to 0.682, respectively). Among Norwegian older adults, a higher level of education was related to higher likelihood of elevated drinking (OR=1.503, 95% CI 1.092 to 2.069, OR=3.020, 95% CI 2.185 to 4.175). Living in rural areas and higher life satisfaction were related to lower likelihood of elevated drinking in the Norwegian sample (OR=0.739, 95% CI 0.554 to 0.984, OR=0.844, 95% CI 0.729 to 0.977, respectively).
The elevated alcohol consumption patterns were strikingly different between China and Norway in regards to prevalence and socioeconomic distribution. To develop and implement culturally appropriate public health policies regarding alcohol in the future, public health policy makers and professionals need to be aware of the cultural differences and consider the demographic, social and economic characteristics of their intended population.