NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 14, 2005

People who have an alcoholic drink or two a day may have a lower risk of becoming obese than either teetotalers or heavier drinkers, according to a new study from BMC Health.

The researchers analyzed data from a national health survey of Americans age 18 and older, conducted between 1988 and 1994. They focused their analysis on 8,236 participants who had never smoked and found that:

  • Those who said they enjoyed a drink a day were 54 percent less likely than non-drinkers to be obese.
  • Similarly, those who drank a little more (two drinks per day) or a little less (a few drinks per week) had a lower risk of obesity than teetotalers.
  • In contrast, heavy drinkers (four or more drinks a day) were 46 percent more likely to be obese than non-drinkers were.

The researchers suggest that the lower prevalence of obesity among moderate drinkers helps explain the lower risk of heart disease in moderate drinkers. While the researchers do no suggest drinking as a weight-loss solution, they do argue that cutting out alcohol entirely might be counterproductive.

Source: Amy Norton, "Moderate drinkers show lower obesity risk," Reuters, December 5, 2005.


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