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Study: Moderate drinkers outlive both heavy and non-drinkers

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Moderate drinking, about one to two drinks per day, is associated with reduced mortality among middle-aged and older adults, according to new research from the University of Texas at Austin. The findings also showed that heavy drinkers had a mortality risk 42 percent higher than moderate drinkers and that non-drinkers' mortality risk was 49 percent higher than moderate drinkers.

Here's to your longevity health toasts! But keep it to just one or two.

Moderate imbibers tend to live longer than tea-totalers, according to a study by the University of Texas and Stanford University's Center for Health Care Evaluation to be published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research in November. The researchers found those who drank moderately were more likely to live longer across a 20-year follow-up than those who drank heavily or who didn't drink at all.

News for red wine fans was even better; they live even longer.

The study did not come to any conclusions as to why this is true.

The researchers followed 1,824 former or current drinkers (1,142 men, 682 women) between the ages of 55 and 65 for 20 years. They collected information on the participants' daily alchohol intake and any health-related issues until the time of death. The analysis was done as part of a larger study of late-life patterns of drinking. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the Department of Veterans Affairs funded the study.

Of course, like with all things that seem too good to be true, there was a buzz-kill warning from the authors of the study, who cautioned that drinking can also be hazardous to your health. Drinking and driving are still verboten since alcohol impairs reaction time. There's also liver damage. And while one might enjoy consuming mass quantities of fermented wheat and grapes, they might not remember the pleasure as drinking also dulls memory. In addition, the authors noted that the abstainers may have been former problem drinkers with other health issues.

"Older persons drinking alcohol should remember that consuming more than two drinks a day exceeds recommended alcohol consumption guidelines in the United States and is associated with increased falls, a higher risk of alcohol use problems and potential adverse interactions with medications," said study author Charles Holahan, professor of psychology at UT-Austin.


Late-Life Alcohol Consumption and 20-Year Mortality

Charles J. Holahan, Kathleen K. Schutte, Penny L. Brennan, Carole K. Holahan, Bernice S. Moos and Rudolf H. Moos

Article first published online: 24 AUG 2010 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2010.01286.x

Subscribe to comments feed Comments (2 posted):

cocopop on 09/02/2010 02:57:09
who paid for this research?>
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Kathlyn Stone on 09/11/2010 20:59:13
cocopop -- 5th paragraph: The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the Department of Veterans Affairs funded the study.
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