194835 Have the Associations between State Per Capita Alcohol Sales and Self-Reported Alcohol Measures in the United States Changed Over Time?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

David E. Nelson, MD, MPH , Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD
Timothy Naimi, MD, MPH , Centers for Disease Control, Emerging Investigations Branch, Zuni, NM
Robert D. Brewer, MD, MSPH , CDC, Atlanta, GA
Jim Roeber, MPH , Substance Abuse Epidemiology Unit, New Mexico Department of Health, Santa Fe, NM
There is well-recognized value for tracking alcohol consumption and other alcohol behaviors on a population-wide basis for surveillance, epidemiologic, and other purposes. Population-level measures of alcohol use are usually based on per capita consumption estimates (alcohol sales data) or self-reported measures from surveys. Evidence from many countries has shown that alcohol sales data are associated with certain adverse health effects on a population basis (e.g., cirrhosis rates), but they have certain disadvantages, as they cannot distinguish differences in alcohol use among population groups. Self-reported survey data can identify drinking patterns and populations at higher risk, but individuals underreport and underestimate alcohol use. Limited research, particularly from recent years in the U.S., has been conducted comparing state data from alcohol sales with survey data. We correlated state alcohol sales data from the Alcohol Epidemiologic Data System with adult survey data on alcohol measures (consumption; prevalence of current use, heavy use, and binge drinking) from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for the years 1993-2006. As expected, alcohol consumption estimates from surveys were substantially lower than those from sales data (range for medians: 22.3% to 31.6% of sales). Nevertheless, state self-reported alcohol measures and sales data were consistently moderate-to-strongly correlated in all years (range: 0.55-0.71 for consumption; 0.57-0.65 for current use; 0.33-0.66 for heavy use; and 0.45-0.61 for binge drinking). These findings demonstrate that despite underreporting, self-reported state alcohol measures are valid for monitoring alcohol use trends over time. Potential explanations and practical implications of these findings will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
1.Describe available state public health surveillance systems for estimating alcohol consumption and use. 2. Identify the extent of the relationship (correlations) of state survey estimates of alcohol measures with state alcohol sales data over time. 3. Articulate potential theoretical reasons why state alcohol sales and self-reported data on alcohol measures are related, and the practical implication of these relationships.

Keywords: Alcohol, Surveillance

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have many years of experience as an epidemiologist, both in my current role as the Director of the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program at the National Cancer Institute and at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.