Women who drink moderately appear to gain less weight than nondrinkers

Mar 08, 2010

Normal-weight women who drink a light to moderate amount of alcohol appear to gain less weight and have a lower risk of becoming overweight and obese than non-drinkers, according to a report in the March 8 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

More than half of American adults drink , according to background information in the article. contains about 7 calories per gram (with approximately 28 grams per ounce) and alcohol drinking may possibly lead to weight gain through an imbalance of energy consumed and energy burned. However, research has not consistently provided evidence that consuming alcohol is a risk factor for obesity.

Lu Wang, M.D., Ph.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, and colleagues studied 19,220 U.S. women age 39 or older who had a (BMI) in the range classified as normal (18.5 to 25). On an initial questionnaire, participants reported how many alcoholic beverages they typically drank per day. A total of 7,346 (38.2 percent) reported drinking no alcohol; 6,312 (32.8 percent) drank less than 5 grams; 3,865 (20.1 percent) drank 5 to less than 15 grams; 1,129 (5.9 percent) drank 15 to less than 30 grams; and 568 (3 percent) drank 30 grams per day or more.

Over an average of 13 years of follow-up, women on average gained weight progressively. Women who did not drink alcohol at all gained the most weight, with decreasing as alcohol intake increased. A total of 7,942 (41.3 percent) women who initially had normal weight become overweight or obese (BMI of 25 or higher), including 732 (3.8 percent) who become obese (BMI of 30 or higher). Compared with women who did not drink at all, those who consumed some but less than 40 grams per day of alcohol were less likely to become overweight or obese. who drank 15 to less than 30 grams per day had the lowest risk, which was almost 30 percent lower than that of non-drinkers.

"An inverse association between alcohol intake and risk of becoming overweight or obese was noted for all four types of alcoholic beverages [red wine, white wine, beer and liquor], with the strongest association found for red wine and a weak yet significant association for white wine after multivariate adjustment," the authors write.

The authors caution that, given potential medical and psychosocial problems related to drinking alcohol, its beneficial and adverse effects for each individual must be considered before making any recommendation about its use. "Further investigations are warranted to elucidate the role of and alcohol metabolism in energy balance and to identify behavioral, physiological and genetic factors that may modify the alcohol effects," they conclude.

Explore further: Doctors frequently experience ethical dilemmas

More information: Arch Intern Med. 2010;170[5]:453-461

Related Stories

Moderate drinking may help older women live longer

Dec 13, 2006

A study published in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society finds that moderate alcohol intake (1-2 drinks/day for 3-6 days/week, depending on alcoholic content) may lead to increased quality of life and survival in older ...

Moderate drinking lowers women's risk of heart attack

May 23, 2007

Women who regularly enjoy an alcoholic drink or two have a significantly lower risk of having a non-fatal heart attack than women who are life-time abstainers, epidemiologists at the University at Buffalo have shown.

A Drink to Healthy Aging

Dec 13, 2007

Researchers at the University of Newcastle say a glass of wine a day may be of benefit to the health of older women.

Recommended for you

Can YouTube save your life?

14 hours ago

Only a handful of CPR and basic life support (BLS) videos available on YouTube provide instructions which are consistent with recent health guidelines, according to a new study published in Emergency Medicine Australasia, the jo ...

Doctors frequently experience ethical dilemmas

15 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For physicians trying to balance various financial and time pressures, ethical dilemmas are common, according to an article published Aug. 7 in Medical Economics.

AMGA: Physician turnover still high in 2013

15 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For the second year running, physician turnover remains at the highest rate since 2005, according to a report published by the American Medical Group Association (AMGA).

Obese or overweight teens more likely to become smokers

16 hours ago

A study examining whether overweight or obese teens are at higher risk for substance abuse finds both good and bad news: weight status has no correlation with alcohol or marijuana use but is linked to regular ...

Taking preventive health care into community spaces

17 hours ago

A church. A city park. An office. These are not the typical settings for a medical checkup. But a new nationwide study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research shows that providing health services in ...

User comments : 0