Scherr PA; LaCroix AZ; Wallace
RB; Berkman L; Curb JD; Cornoni-Huntley J; Evans DA; Hennekens CH
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether there is a
relationship of low to moderate alcohol consumption with cardiovascular mortality in the
DESIGN: Prospective cohort studies with 5-year
SETTING: Three populations of community-dwelling
PARTICIPANTS: Population-based cohorts of men and
women, aged 65 or older, in three populations. Subjects with prior myocardial infarction,
stroke, or cancer, as well as those lacking alcohol consumption data, were excluded from
statistical analyses leaving 2,694 subjects in East Boston, Massachusetts, 2,293 subjects
in Iowa, and 1,904 subjects in New Haven, Connecticut. MAIN OUTCOME
MEASUREMENTS: Alcohol consumption, total mortality,
cardiovascular mortality, and cancer mortality.
RESULTS: Low to moderate alcohol consumption was
associated with statistically significant lowered total as well as cardiovascular
mortality in East Boston and New Haven. The relative risks of total mortality for low to
moderate consumers of alcohol compared to those consuming no alcohol in the previous year
were 0.7 (95% CI 0.6-0.8) in East Boston and 0.6 (95% CI 0.5-0.8) in New Haven. For
cardiovascular mortality, the RRs were 0.6 in East Boston and 0.5 in New Haven (95% CI's
exclude null). These results persisted after control for potential confounding variables.
In Iowa, there were no significant differences in total or cardiovascular mortality
according to alcohol consumption patterns. For cancer mortality, there were no significant
associations with alcohol consumption in any of the three populations.
CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that the
relationship of low to moderate alcohol consumption with reduced total and cardiovascular
mortality, which are well documented in middle age, also occur in older populations.
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