Even low alcohol consumption has a negative impact on overall health

October 22, 2009

Low alcohol consumption is bad for your health in general. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation studied the relationship between alcohol consumption and health to test the current theory which suggests improved health is responsible for the link found between low alcohol consumption and increased wages.

Johan Jarl, from Lund University, Sweden, worked with a team of researchers to determine the effect of low alcohol consumption on health by measuring alcohol-related medical care costs and episodes collected during the Swedish Cost of Alcohol Project in 2002. They found that, with the exception of people more than 80 years old, men who consumed up to five units a day and women who consumed up to 2.5 units a day cost the health service more than those who do not drink. Their finding calls into question the previous assumption that low alcohol consumption is good for your health.

Several studies show that people with low alcohol intake are more highly paid. One common, but untested, explanation for this link is that low consumers spend more time at work and therefore gets better pay due to the protective effect of alcohol on some diseases. According to Jarl, "In this study, however, we found that, when including also those diseases where low consumption increases the risk of morbidity and mortality, low-to-moderate alcohol intake actually has a net negative health impact", adding, "It is therefore doubtful if the common explanation of health as the link between alcohol consumption and increased wages is valid in its existing form."

Speaking about other factors that, in the light of these findings, could account for the alcohol-wage link, Jarl said, "Family background, social networking and subjective health benefits may be responsible. It is not unlikely that the link is actually compiled of several different factors that together give a significant effect of low alcohol consumption on wage. It should come as no surprise that the nature of links such as this is normally complex and care should be taken not to oversimplify".
-end-
Notes to Editors:

1. Medical net cost of low alcohol consumption - a cause to reconsider improved health as the link between alcohol and wage?
Johan Jarl, Ulf-G Gerdtham and Klara Hradilova Selin
Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation (in press)

During embargo, article available here: http://www.resource-allocation.com/imedia/1236408809243422_article.pdf?random=648548

After the embargo, article available at journal website: http://www.resource-allocation.com/

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication

2. Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation is ready to receive manuscripts on all aspects of economic evaluation in health care and also encourages submissions on health policy issues relating to resource allocation and the trade-offs between economic, ethical and social criteria for decision-making.

3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.

BioMed Central

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.