Light to moderate alcohol consumption may help prevent senior citizens from developing disabilities.
That’s the conclusion of a five year UCLA (University of California- Los Angeles) study.
Researchers took 4,276 men and women with an average age of 60.4 years.
Drinkers were classified as light to moderate if they consumed less than 15 drinks per week and less than five drinks per drinking day (less than four per day for women). Heavy drinkers were those who consumed 15 or more drinks per week or five or more per drinking day (four or more for women). Abstainers were those who drank fewer than 12 alcoholic beverages the previous year.
At the start of the survey, 32 percent of men and 51 percent of women abstained from drinking, 51 percent of men and 45 percent of women were light to moderate drinkers, and 17 percent of men and 4 percent women were heavy drinkers.
No one had any disabilities at the outset, but 7 percent died and 15 percent became disabled over five years.
The researchers found that light to moderate drinkers in good health had a lower risk for developing new disabilities, compared with both abstainers and heavy drinkers.
Study author Dr Arun Karlamangla said: “If you start out in good health, alcohol consumption at light to moderate levels can be beneficial.
"But if you don't start out healthy, alcohol will not give you a benefit."
The full study is available in the online edition of the American Journal of Epidemiology.