Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Public Health


The relations of systolic and diastolic blood pressures to alcohol intake and exercise tolerance levels in 15,612 men and 3,855 women were investigated. Alcohol intake was assessed by questionnaire and stratified into seven levels for men and six for women according to the ounces of ethanol consumed per week. Exercise tolerance was determined by maximal treadmill exercise testing and was categorized into six age-specific by sex-specific levels. Both systolic and diastolic blood pressure were significantly related to both alcohol intake and exercise tolerance levels in both men and women. These relations, which were positive for alcohol and negative for exercise tolerance, remained after covariance adjustment for age, body mass index, and cigarette smoking. Alcohol intake was not significantly correlated with exercise tolerance. The relation of blood pressure to alcohol was not linear because the blood pressure of moderate consumers of alcohol tended to be slightly lower than that of nondrinkers. Higher blood pressure was found only in drinkers whose ethanol intake exceeded 9.5 ounces (~285 ml or 19 drinks) per week. However, heavy drinkers in high exercise tolerance categories had no higher blood pressure than nondrinkers in low exercise tolerance groups. Exercise tolerance or physiological fitness appears to be important in quantifying the relation between alcohol intake and blood pressure and should be considered in describing this relation.

Included in

Public Health Commons