Moderate Drinking May Be Key to Long Life
Moderate drinking -- one to two drinks a day -- may help middle-age and older people live longer, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin say.
The study, published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, suggests the health benefits of drinking among older adults are intrinsically linked to moderation.
"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," Charles Holahan says in a statement.
Holahan and colleagues collected information on alcohol consumption and former drinking status, as well as health, social and other factors, for 1,142 men and 682 women ages 55-65 who were former or current drinkers for 20 years.
Abstainers tend to include former problem drinkers as well as those with other health problems.
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.
"The findings showed increases in mortality risk of 42 percent for heavy drinkers and 49 percent for abstainers in comparison to moderate drinkers," the study authors say in a statement.