New research suggests that increased mortality risk among current alcohol abstainers may be largely explained by other factors, such as prior alcohol or drug problems, daily smoking, and overall poor health, rather than by current alcohol consumption alone.
It has been published in the ‘PLOS Medicine Journal’ that this new discovery was made.
Studies have suggested that people who abstain from alcoholic beverages have a higher mortality rate than those who consume low to moderate amounts of alcoholic beverages. Researchers used data from a random sample of 4,028 German adults who had taken part in a standardized interview between 1996 and 1997, when participants ranged in age from 18 to 64 years old, for the new study, which was published today. Baseline data on alcohol consumption in the 12 months prior to the interview, as well as other information on health, alcohol, and drug use, were available at the time of the interview. Data on mortality were available from a follow-up study that occurred 20 years later.
447 (11.10 percent) of the study participants reported that they had not consumed any alcoholic beverages in the 12 months prior to the baseline interview. These abstainers included 405 former alcohol consumers (90.60%), 322 (72.04 percent) who had one or more other risk factors for higher mortality rates, such as a former alcohol-use disorder or risky alcohol consumption (35.40 percent), daily tobacco use (50.00 percent), or fair to poor self-rated health (50 percent) (10.51 percent). Compared to low to moderate alcohol consumers, the 125 alcohol abstinent individuals who did not have these risk factors did not have a statistically significant difference in total, cardiovascular, or cancer mortality, and those who had maintained their alcohol abstinence throughout their lives had a hazard ratio of 1.64 (95 percent confidence interval: 0.72-3.77), which was lower than the risk ratio of 1.64 for low to moderate alcohol consumers after adjusting for age, gender, and tobacco smoking.
“The findings support the notion that people in the general population who are currently abstinent from alcohol do not necessarily have a shorter life expectancy than people in the general population who consume low to moderate amounts of alcoholic beverages. The findings are in opposition to recommendations to consume alcohol for health reasons “as stated by the authors
John went on to say, “It has long been assumed that low to moderate alcohol consumption could have beneficial effects on health, based on the observation that those who abstain from alcohol died at a younger age than those who consume low to moderate amounts of alcohol. We discovered that the vast majority of abstainers had alcohol or drug problems, risky alcohol consumption, daily tobacco smoking, or fair to poor health in their past, all of which are risk factors for early death, according to our findings.”