Moderate Alcohol Consumption in Women May Reduce Risk of Becoming Overweight or Obese

DynaMed Weekly Update - Volume 5, Issue 11

Moderate alcohol consumption has previously been associated with decreased cardiovascular risk (BMJ 2006 May 27;332(7552):1244) and decreased overall mortality (Arch Intern Med 2006 Dec 11;166(22):2437) in observational studies. A recent study assessed the effects of alcohol on weight gain in a cohort of 19,220 women (mean age 54 years) who had normal body mass index (BMI 18.5-25 kg/m2) at baseline and were followed for 13 years. All the women were free of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes at baseline. There was a dose-dependent reduction in the risk of becoming overweight or obese associated with drinking up to 30 grams of alcohol (about 2 drinks) per day compared to no alcohol consumption (level 2 [mid-level] evidence). For 15-30 grams/day, the adjusted risk ratio was 0.86 (95% CI 0.8-0.92) for becoming overweight and 0.43 (95% CI 0.34-0.56) for becoming obese. As little as 5 grams/day (2 drinks per week) was found to lower risk. There was no additional risk reduction associated with consuming > 40 grams/day. In an analysis of types of alcohol consumed, red wine was associated with the greatest risk reduction (Arch Intern Med 2010 Mar 8;170(5):453).

For more information, see the Obesity in adults topic in DynaMed.