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Moderate Drinking Decreases Men's Heart Attack Risk

Study shows that moderate drinking could complement other healthy lifestyle interventions

MONDAY, Oct. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Moderate drinking may lower the risk of heart attack in healthy men, researchers report in the Oct. 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Kenneth J. Mukamal, M.D., of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues analyzed data from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study on 8,867 men aged 40 to 75. All the subjects were non-smokers who ate healthy diets, exercised at least 30 minutes per day and had a body mass index (BMI) of less than 25.

Between 1986 and 2002, the researchers found that 106 men had heart attacks. Compared with abstention, they calculated that the hazard ratios for heart attack were 0.98 for alcohol intake of 0.1-4.9 grams per day, 0.59 for alcohol intake of 5.0-14.9 g/d, 0.38 for alcohol intake of 15-29.9 g/d, and 0.86 for alcohol intake of 30 g/d or more. After comparing men who drank 5.0 g/d or more with those who drank less than 5.0 g/d, they estimated that 25 percent of the incidence cases of heart attack in the low-consumption group were attributable to consuming less than 5.0 g/d.

"Our results suggest that moderate drinking could be viewed as a complement, rather than an alternative, to these other lifestyle interventions [physical activity, weight reduction and smoking abstinence], a viewpoint espoused by some authors," Mukamal and colleagues conclude.

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