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It is well known that alcohol consumption is associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, the association of age at initiation of alcohol consumption and duration of alcohol drinking with type 2 diabetes mellitus among Chinese adults is not fully understood. This study was based on data from the China Kadoorie Biobank, which included 512,712 participants aged 30-79 years who were living in China in 2004-2008. A Cox proportional hazards model was used to estimate the association of AAI and drinking duration with type 2 diabetes. After adjustment for potential covariates, ages at alcohol initiation (AAIs) of 18.1-29.0 years, 29.1-39.0 years, and >39.0 years were associated with 22% (95% confidence interval (CI): 14, 30), 25% (95% CI: 17, 33), and 32% (95% CI: 24, 39) lower hazards of type 2 diabetes compared with abstaining, respectively. Drinking durations of <10.1 years, 10.1-20.0 years, and 20.1-30.0 years were associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, compared with abstaining. Among current (weekly) drinkers, AAI <18.1 years and drinking duration >30.0 years were associated with 18% (95% CI: 4, 33) and 20% (95% CI: 3, 40) higher hazards of type 2 diabetes, compared with AAI 18.1-29.0 years and drinking duration <10.1 years, respectively. In conclusion, late AAI and a short drinking duration were associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes in this large prospective cohort study of Chinese adults, but early AAI and long drinking duration were not.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Epidemiol

Publication Date





1478 - 1491


Chinese, alcohol, alcohol consumption, cohort studies, drinking duration, type 2 diabetes, Adult, Alcohol Drinking, China, Cohort Studies, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Underage Drinking