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Moderate Alcohol Intake Linked to Lower Obesity Risk

Study finds lower body mass index in those who consume one or two drinks per day

TUESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Moderate consumption of alcohol may be associated with reduced risk of obesity, according to a study published online on Dec. 4 in the open access journal BMC Public Health.

Ahmed A. Arif, M.D., Ph.D., of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, and James E. Rohrer of the Mayo Clinic Family Medicine Program/Rochester in Kasson, Minn., studied data on 8,236 respondents to the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The body mass index (BMI) of the survey sample was divided into three categories: normal, overweight and obese. Alcohol consumption was measured in terms of drinking history, binge drinking, frequency of drinking, quantity of drinks per day and average volume per week.

The mean BMI for the sample was 26.4 and approximately 46% of the sample were current drinkers, a group with 0.73 lower likelihood of obesity compared with non-drinkers. However, those who binge drank or who consumed four or more drinks a day had higher odds of being obese. The odds of becoming obese were 0.46 for those who consumed one alcoholic drink per day and were 0.59 for those who had two a day.

"The beneficial effect of moderate use of alcohol beverages on diabetes and other chronic diseases has been well established. However, prospective epidemiological studies are needed to confirm if the same beneficial effects can be extended to obesity," the authors conclude.

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