Relationship among alcohol intake, body fat, and physical activity: A population-based study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations


Objectives: Aside from fat, ethanol is the macronutrient with the greatest energy density. Whether the energy derived from ethanol affects body composition and fat mass is debatable. We investigated the relationship of alcohol intake, body composition, and physical activity in the U.S. population by using data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III). Methods: A total of 10,550 subjects met eligibility criteria and constituted our study cohort. Estimated percent body fat and resting metabolic rate were calculated on the basis of the sum of the skinfolds. Multivariate regression analyses were performed accounting for the study sampling weight. Results: In both sexes, moderate and hazardous alcohol drinkers were younger (p < .05) and had significantly lower body mass index (p < 0.01) and body weight (p < 0.01) than non-drinkers. Those with hazardous alcohol consumption participated in significantly less physical activity compared with those with no alcohol use and moderate drinkers in both sexes. Women had significantly greater percent body fat than men. In multivariate linear regression analyses, the levels of alcohol consumption were found to be an independent predictor associated with lower percent body fat only in male subjects. Conclusions: Our results showed that alcoholics are habitually less active and that alcohol drinking is an independent predictor of lower percent body fat, especially in male alcoholics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)670-675
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Epidemiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010


  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Body Fat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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