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Study confirms drinking moderately responsibly the way to go

Study confirms drinking moderately, responsibly the way to go

An industry group formed to give a reasonable perspective in the public discussion around alcohol has given its verdict on a recent study into the impacts of over-consumption of alcohol.

“While these are the usual shock-horror tactics used to try and scare people away from alcohol, the study actually confirms something we all already know – drinking moderately and responsibly is the way to go,” says Executive Director Nick Leggett. “And that’s something that 80% of New Zealand drinkers are already doing.”

The study was published in the latest edition of the British Lancet.

“The study found an increase in all-cause mortality for those who drank 10+ glasses a week, compared with those who drink 1-10 glasses a week. But it did not make a comparison between those who drink moderately and abstainers, because the unhelpful and uncomfortable truth is that those who drink moderately enjoy better life expectancy than non-drinkers. Buried deep in the report appears to be a concession on this point.”

Nick Leggett says the alcohol industry will always push for moderate drinking habits of New Zealanders.

“Drinking sociably and responsibly is something that most of us already do, and as harmful drinking among younger consumers continues to fall we must continue to cement the moderate drinking message in place so that the stats continue to improve.

“New Zealanders who follow public health guidelines around healthy weekly consumption of alcohol should not be concerned by this study. That’s two standard drinks per day for women, with no more than 10 standard drinks in a week, and three standard drinks for men, with no more than 15 in a week.”

Nick Leggett says that like in most things, moderation with alcohol is always key.

Note to Editors: below are references to studies that compare drinking habits with life expectancy.
Using moderate drinkers as the reference group, compared with abstainers and heavier drinkers at different levels: Bell et al. (2017). Association between clinically recorded alcohol consumption and initial presentation of 12 cardiovascular diseases: population based cohort study using linked health records. BMJ, 356:j909 | doi: 10.1136/bmj.j909

Using abstainers as reference group, compared with moderate and heavier drinkers: These studies (except Yang) separate former drinkers and lifetime abstainers in sub-analyses:
Yang et al. (2016). Alcohol consumption and risk of coronary artery disease: a dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. Nutrition, 32(6):637-44 – this study combines former drinkers and lifetime abstainers
Ronksley et al. 2011. Association of alcohol consumption with selected cardiovascular disease outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. 342:d671
Larsson, S. C., Wallin, A., Wolk, A., & Markus, H. S. (2016). Differing association of alcohol consumption with different stroke types: A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Medicine, 14(1), 1-11. doi:10.1186/s12916-016-0721-4
Larsson, S. C., Wallin, A., Wolk, A. (2017). "Alcohol consumption and risk of heart failure: meta-analysis of 13 prospective studies." Clinical Nutrition.


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