Given the rapid population aging taking place in countries like Brazil
and in many other countries, understanding patterns of alcohol consumption by older people
and the associated factors are important.
The databases MEDLINE, Embase, and LILACS were searched for population-based studies on the prevalence of current alcohol consumption among Brazilians aged over 60.
Eight eligible studies were identified. Two studies reported data on binge drinking
, with one national study finding a prevalence of 10.3%, while the other (male subjects only) found higher prevalences (27.1% and 13.7% at 2 sites). Heavy drinking was estimated in 4 studies with prevalences varying from 2.9% to 7.3%. Alcohol dependence
was estimated in 3 studies, 1 used the DSM-IV diagnosis criteria and found a prevalence of 3.8%, while the other 2 used screening tools and found higher prevalences of 8.2% and 9.2%. Being male and younger were associated with several of the above patterns of alcohol consumption. Higher education was associated with binge and heavy drinking, and low education and socioeconomic status with alcohol dependence
These findings show that in Brazil
problems related to alcohol use
by the elderly remain relatively unknown. There was a high heterogeneity of methodologies in the studies, making it difficult to summarize the findings and produce prevalence estimates for the different patterns of consumption. More homogenous studies using similar definitions of patterns of alcohol consumption are required to allow comparisons to be made between different Brazilian regions and other countries.