Risks and benefits of alcohol consumption vary with age as well as sex

July 25, 2002

The health benefits of alcohol only occur in middle aged and older people, finds a study in this week's BMJ. For men aged up to 35 and women aged up to 55 even light drinkers have a higher risk of death than those who do not drink at all.

Researchers analysed the drinking habits of men and women in England and Wales for age bands 16-24, 25-34, 35-44, and so on up to over 85. Using national death statistics and international epidemiological studies, they then estimated the relation between alcohol consumption and risk of death, and how this varies with age and sex.

They found a direct dose-response relation between alcohol consumption and risk of death in women aged 16-54 and in men aged 16-34. However, the level at which the risk of death was lowest increased with age, reaching 3 units a week in women aged over 65 and 8 units a week in men aged over 65.

The level of alcohol consumption that carries a 5% increase in risk of death increases with age from 8 to 20 units a week in women and from 5 to 34 units a week in men, they add. To incur an increased risk of no more than 5% they suggest that women would be advised to limit their drinking to 1 unit a day up to age 44, 2 units a day up to age 74, and 3 units a day over age 75. Men would be advised to limit their drinking to 1 unit a day up to age 34, 2 units a day up to age 44, 3 units a day up to age 54, 4 units a day up to age 84, and 5 units a day over age 85.

Finally, as most deaths attributable to alcohol at younger ages are due to injuries, a greater focus could be placed on avoiding risky patterns of drinking rather than on reducing average alcohol consumption


Related Alcohol Consumption Articles from Brightsurf:

Excessive alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic
The full impact of COVID-19 on alcohol use is not yet known, but rates have been rising during the first few months of the pandemic.

Alcohol consumption rises sharply during pandemic shutdown
Anecdotal information has suggested that people are buying and consuming more alcohol during the pandemic shutdown.

Associations of alcohol consumption, alcohol-induced passing out with risk of dementia
The risk of future dementia associated with overall alcohol consumption and alcohol-induced loss of consciousness in a population of current drinkers was examined in this observational study with more than 131,000 adults.

Sweet coolers a gateway to increased alcohol consumption
Sweetened alcoholic beverages can promote harmful alcohol consumption among teens, new University of Guelph research finds.

The influence of alcohol consumption among cohabitating partners
Research has linked a partner's or spouse's drinking with changes in alcohol-related behaviors, but few studies have considered only cohabiting relationships.

Does alcohol consumption have an effect on arthritis?
Several previous studies have demonstrated that moderate alcohol consumption is linked with less severe disease and better quality of life in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, but a new Arthritis Care & Research study suggests that this might not be because drinking alcohol is beneficial.

Is alcohol consumption more helpful than harmful? It depends on your age
Studies of health effects of alcohol consumption may underestimate the risks of imbibing, particularly for younger people, according to a new study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer ignored by women most at risk
Middle aged women in Australia aren't getting the message about the proven link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer, at a time when more are drinking while cancer rates in their age bracket are increasing, according to a new study.

How much is too much? Even moderate alcohol consumption is a risk factor for atrial fibrillation
Excessive alcohol consumption is an established risk factor for atrial fibrillation (AF), but what are the effects of moderate and mild consumption on AF?

Moderate consumption of alcohol is associated with fewer hospitalizations
A study of the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention of I.R.C.C.S.

Read More: Alcohol Consumption News and Alcohol Consumption Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.