the kind of drinker who raises a glass to the
"health benefits" of alcohol, think again.
statistician with the National Institute of Health
(NIH) in Maryland, found that while moderate alcohol
consumption has some health benefits (reduced risk
of heart disease and stroke), alcoholics and heavy
drinkers don't benefit. She compared information
about 37,682 adults from the 1988 National Health
Interview Survey Alcohol Supplement, and information
on 3,586 deaths listed in the National Death Index
from 1988 to 1995.
findings revealed that among non-dependent drinkers,
light and moderate drinking was protective and
heavier drinking did not significantly affect the
risk of dying; among dependent drinkers, the effect
of alcohol consumption was never protective and
often increased the risk of death." Light drinking
was defined as one to three drinks a week, moderate
drinking as three drinks a week to two drinks a day,
heavy drinking as two to four drinks daily, and very
heavy drinking as more than four drinks a day.
The report, published in the January issue of
noted that alcoholics drank
less wine and more of other types of liquor. Heavy
drinking can damage the liver and cause some
cancers. However, light and moderate drinkers may
also seem healthier because they live healthier
lifestyles in general. Deputy Director of NIH's
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism,
said in a statement that light and moderate drinkers
are "more likely to exercise and be at their ideal
body weight, more likely to get 8 hours of sleep at
night, and more likely to eat a balanced diet.