Moderate drinking by senior citizens may help them live longer, a recent study reports. The Health and Retirement Study (HRS) is one of the largest and most rigorous studies on alcohol consumption and death risk in the United States. This new report presents data that was collected over a 16 year period.
The results appear in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
Moderate Drinking: Will You Really Live Longer?
The new report looked at data from 8,000 older adults — people born between 1931 and 1941 who enrolled in the study in 1992.
Starting in 1992, researchers collected information on the participants’ drinking habits and interviewed them twice a year, every year, from 1998 through 2014.
At each of these points, the researchers divided the participants into one of the following five categories: lifetime abstainers, current abstainers, heavy drinkers, moderate drinkers, and occasional drinkers.
The lifetime abstainers drank fewer than 12 alcoholic drinks, in their lives. Current abstainers had drunk in the past, but not during the study period, while male heavy drinkers, drank regularly, at least 3 or more drinks each day. Female heavy drinkers, drank more than 2 drinks per day.
Binge-heavy drinkers were defined as consuming more than 4-5 drinks per day. Moderate drinkers consumer 1-2 drinks per day; and occasional drinkers had one drink per week.
The results show that moderate and occasional drinkers had lower death rates than abstainers.
Current abstainers had the highest mortality rates.
Also, importantly, moderate and occasional female drinkers were less likely to die prematurely than lifetime abstainers.
This study supports earlier research which demonstrated that moderate alcohol consumption extends life and protects the heart. Furthermore, additional studies suggested that light to moderate drinking helps protect women against stroke. Researchers believe that this benefit derives from resveratrol, the active compound in red wine.
So, senior citizens — Ladies and Gentlemen, enjoy 1-2 drinks per week and Live Long!