Moderate drinking good for health, may add years to life

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    New Delhi: A study says that consuming alcohol moderately can help fight odds of premature death and add years to life.

    Researchers examined health survey data on more than 333,000 U.S. adults, following them for an average of about eight years to see how their drinking habits influenced their survival odds.

    Compared with people who never had a drop of alcohol, light to moderate drinkers were more than 20 percent less likely to die early of any cause, or of heart disease in particular, the study found.
    Heavy drinkers and binge drinkers, however, were at least 10 percent more likely to die from any cause during the study, and they hdad at least 20 percent higher odds of an early death from cancer in particular.
    “If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation,” said lead study author Dr. Bo Xi of the School of Public Health at Shandong University in China.

    Heavy drinking has long been linked to a variety of medical problems including liver disease, heart disease and certain cancers.

    But previous research has offered an inconclusive picture of the survival odds associated with light or moderate drinking.

    The current analysis attempts to tackle two issues that have contributed to inconsistent results in much of the earlier research: `abstainer bias’ and `sick quitter bias.’

    Many other studies compared moderate drinkers to people who currently didn’t drink, making it impossible to separate people who stopped drinking due to addiction or other health reasons from people who were lifelong abstainers.

    To exclude `sick quitters,’ the current study left out people who died in the first two years of follow-up.

    To avoid `abstainer bias,’ researchers created separate categories for adults who never drank at all and for ex-drinkers.

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