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03.2009

Massachusetts Beverage Business

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archivedHealth

A DRINK (or TWO) a DAY CAN KEEP DISABILITIES AWAY!

THERE’S NOT OFTEN GOOD NEWS when it comes to aging and drinking alcohol. But according to a new study from UCLA researchers healthy people 5O and older who drink moderate amounts of alcohol are less likely to suffer physical disabilities that cause so many seniors to lose their independence. The study’s authors said their research showed that healthy older adults who were light-to-moderate drinkers had 25 percent lower odds of being unable to carry out daily activities such as walking, dressing, eating, running errands, or doing chores. However, seniors who weren’t healthy to begin with did not see any benefits. Heavy drinkers and abstainers had higher risks of disabilities that would limit such activities. “What it’s really telling light-to-moderate drinkers is don’t worry, you’re probably in good company, and you’re probably going to get good benefits from this,” said lead researcher Dr. Arun S. Karlamangla, an associate professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. The researchers defined light-to-moderate drinking as less than 15 drinks a week with a daily maximum of five for men and four for women. Study co-author Dr. Alison A. Moore, an associate professor of medicine in the geriatrics division at the same school said the study included the number of drinks a day to eliminate people who binge drink. The daily consumption may be part of the protective mechanism, she explained. Moore said that a common recommendation for older adults is consuming about one drink a day. This study and other new data may change that standard. “There are healthy 65- to 7O-year-olds who can take more than a drink a day,” she added. The UCLA researchers said their study was the first to follow a large, nationally representative sample over a period of years to look at the relationship between alcohol and physical disabilities. The findings were published online in January in the american journal of epidemiology.

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