Moderate alcohol consumption keeps women healthier in old age

November 19, 2010 in Nutrition for Older Adults, Nutrition Topics in the News, Women's Health

Moderate alcohol consumption keeps women healthier in old age
New study findings from researchers at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard medical school are reporting that middle-aged women who drink moderate amounts of alcohol are more likely to be free of major chronic diseases later in life.

The study is one of the first to link moderate alcohol consumption of 15 to 30 grams daily or the equivalent of one to two drinks, with successful aging.

To investigate researchers used data from the U.S. Nurses' Health Study, they studied nearly 14,000 women who survived until at least age 70. They looked at how much the women reported drinking when they were in their late 50s.

They found that drinking 15 to 30 grams of alcohol a day in mid-life was associated with a 26 per cent increase in survival odds over non-drinkers.

Women who drank in moderation regularly had higher odds of living to at least age 70, the researchers found.  They were also more likely to be free of 11 major chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and Parkinson's disease, as well as major cognitive impairment, and physical limitations. 

Researchers say the take-home message is that moderate alcohol consumption at mid-life does may lead to better health when you're older, however heavy drinking has numerous adverse effects on human health.

The study was one of several about alcohol that were presented at the American Heart Association's scientific sessions last week.

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