Binge Drinking Bad for Your Heart

Sporadic boozing packs on abdominal fat, study finds

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THURSDAY, Sept. 11, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Those extra shots of liquor after your weekly baseball game may be adding another strike to your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

A University at Buffalo study found men and women who drank infrequently but heavily had more abdominal fat than people who consumed the same amount but drank regularly. Abdominal fat has been shown to be an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

The study of 2,3443 men and women also found that the kind of alcohol you drink contributes differently to the development of abdominal fat. Liquor drinkers had the most abdominal fat, while wine drinkers had the least abdominal bulge.

"Our primary message is that binge drinking is an unhealthy way of consuming alcohol. These results do not suggest that persons with abdominal fat should start drinking," lead author Joan Dorn, associate professor of social and preventive medicine, says in a news release.

The study found small amounts of alcohol consumed on a regular basis were associated with less abdominal fat. People who drank sporadically but intensely -- more than three to four drinks per drinking occasion -- had the highest levels of abdominal fat.

In both men and women, the more drinks per drinking day, the more abdominal fat they had.

"These findings support what has been shown in other studies about the beneficial effect of moderate drinking on heart disease. It also is more evidence that the way people drink is important, and not just the amount of alcohol consumed," Dorn says.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about cardiovascular disease.

SOURCE: University at Buffalo, news release, September 2003

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