Date of Award

Summer 6-10-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Anita Nucci

Second Advisor

Sarah Henes

Third Advisor

Barbara Hopkins


Background: Factors that contribute to body fat and adiposity include energy consumption, macronutrient intake, and physical activity. Alcohol not only contributes to total energy consumed but also influences metabolic pathways that may alter fat oxidation and storage. Alcohol provides 7.1 kilocalories per gram (kcal/g) and makes up 6-10% of the daily caloric intake of adults in the United States. Cross-sectional studies have shown that increased alcohol intake is associated with higher body mass index (BMI), especially in men. Other studies suggest that there is a “U” shaped association whereby non-drinkers and heavy drinkers have a higher BMI and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) then low to moderate drinkers. While many previous studies evaluate alcohol based on the average consumption (g/day), there is increasing evidence that it is the pattern of alcohol consumption (ie. frequency) that influences body composition. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of the frequency of wine, beer, and liquor consumption on body fat percent (BF%) and WHR in a population of university faculty and staff.

Methods: The Center for Health Discovery and Well Being (CHDWB) cohort trial is being conducted at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. Recruitment of faculty and staff for the study began in 2007. Demographic, reported dietary intake including wine, beer, and liquor consumption, and anthropometric data including weight, height, BF%, and waist circumference are collected at baseline and annually thereafter. We used linear regression models to determine the effect of frequency and quantity of wine, beer, and liquor consumption on BF% while controlling for age and the effects of the other types of alcohol. We applied the Kruskal-Wallis test to determine if the median BF% and waist-hip ratio (WHR) was significantly different for those that reported at different five different frequencies (several times a year to 5-7 days a week).

Results: Baseline visits have been conducted on 700 participants. Their median age was 51 years (66% female). Median weight was 76.9 kg (range, 65.3 - 90.5 kg) and mean BMI was 27.9 + 6.4 kg/m2. A significant negative relationship was observed between frequency of beer consumption and BF% in women (p

Conclusions: The frequency of wine intake consumed by university employees and staff independently predicted BF% and BMI. Greater frequency of wine consumption was associated with lower BF%.