Background: Although light and moderate alcohol drinkers are likely to have better subjective health, the sub-scales for subjective health have not been well documented. Methods: We studied 4,521 male workers aged 25 yr and older with no history of cancer or cardiovascular disease, in 12 occupational groups in Japan. Data were from the High-risk and Population Strategy for Occupational Health Promotion Study (HIPOP-OHP). Drinking status was classified according to daily alcohol intake or frequency of drinking. We assessed the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) based on scores for five scales of the SF-36. Results: Decreased odds ratios of sub-optimal HRQOL conditions, defined as less than the median SF-36 scores, for Role-Physical and General Health were found among persons who consumed 1.0 to 22.9 g/d of alcohol. Odds ratios for sub-optimal Vitality conditions were lowered according to increased levels of alcohol intake. Role-Emotional scores were not associated with alcohol drinking. People who drank 5 to 6 d/wk had higher levels of Role-Physical and Vitality, and those who drank 1 to 2 d/wk had better Vitality and Mental Health scores than non-drinkers. When adjusted for age, marital status, working hours, physical activity at work, self-reported job stress, smoking, regular exercise, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes, the associations were almost unchanged except for General Health. Conclusions: Associations of drinking patterns with subjective health varied in five sub-scales of the SF-36. Overall, alcohol drinkers rated their health as good in comparison with non-drinkers.
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