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Alcoholic Beverage Preference in Germany: An Age-Period-Cohort Analysis of Trends 1995-2018.

AIMS: Germany is experiencing a decline in alcohol consumption but not for every alcoholic beverage type. Given the differential health impacts of alcoholic beverage type, it is important to understand the drivers of these trends. We investigated: (a) temporal trends in beverage preference and (b) the effects of age, period and cohort on these trends.

METHODS: Data came from nine waves (1995-2018; ntotal = 75,550) of the German Epidemiological Survey of Substance Abuse, a nationally representative household survey of individuals aged 18-59 years. The quantity of beer, wine, spirits and mixed drinks drank in the last 30 days was transformed into grammes of ethanol, and the beverage type preference was estimated as the proportion of total ethanol consumption. Fractional multinomial logit regression was applied to analyse the age, period and cohort effects on temporal trends of beverage preference by sex.

RESULTS: The preference for spirits and mixed drinks decreased with increasing age, while the preference for wine increased with no age effect on beer. There was a general decrease in the preference for beer and an increase in the preference for wine among both sexes, with an additional increase in the preference for spirits in males.

CONCLUSION: Trends in beverage preference were more related to individual ageing and changes in the whole population than to cohorts. With the continued reduction in alcohol consumption, the decreasing preference for beer and the growing preference for wine suggest a positive development. Trends of an increasing preference for spirits in males are of concern.

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