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Female Moderate Drinkers May Be Less Likely to Gain Weight

Normal weight women who drink a little may be less likely to become overweight or obese in middle age

THURSDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- Women who are light to moderate drinkers and enter middle age at normal weight may be less likely to become overweight or obese than those who do not drink, according to a study in the March 8 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Lu Wang, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues conducted a study of 19,220 American women aged 38.9 years or above who did not have cancer, diabetes or cardiovascular disease, and who had a normal-range body mass index. The women self-reported alcohol consumption and body weight at baseline and completed eight follow-up questionnaires.

During the 12.9 years of follow-up, there was an inverse association between baseline reported level of alcohol consumption and weight gain, the researchers note. In all, 7,942 women who were initially normal weight became overweight or obese, with a body mass index at 25 or above, and 732 became obese with a body mass index at 30 or above; and, when other risk factors were taken into account, the authors found a dose-dependent inverse association between alcohol intake and becoming overweight or obese.

"However, taking into account the potential medical and psychosocial problems related to drinking alcohol, any recommendation on alcohol use should be made for the individual after carefully evaluating both adverse and beneficial effects of the drinking behavior in a broad context," Wang and colleagues conclude.

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