Wine consumers, especially in comparison with harder alcoholic spirits drinkers, have been shown generally to have higher levels of education and income, to consume a healthier diet, be more physically active, and have other characteristics that are associated with better health outcomes. However, epidemiologic studies have been inconsistent in showing that, after adjustment for all associated lifestyle factors, consumers of wine have lower risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality than do consumers of other beverages. The new Boston University study examined level of wine consumption and total mortality among 802 older adults ages 55—65 at baseline, controlling for key sociodemographic, behavioral, and health status factors. Despite a growing consensus that moderate alcohol consumption is associated with reduced total mortality, whether wine consumption provides an additional, an unique protective effect is unresolved as a result.
Although excessive alcohol consumption has adverse health effects, generally epidemiological studies have consistently demonstrated that moderate consumption of alcohol and wine is statistically associated with a decrease in death due to cardiovascular events such as heart failure according to additional news reports on the French Paradox. The French paradox refers to the comparatively lower incidence of coronary heart disease in France despite high levels of saturated fat in the traditional French diet.
Participants were categorized in three groups in the new study: abstainers, high-wine consumption moderate drinkers, and low-wine-consumption moderate drinkers. Alcohol consumption, sociodemographic factors, health behavior, and health problems were assessed at baseline; total mortality was indexed across an ensuing 20-year period.
High wine consumption and low wine consumption moderate drinkers showed reduced mortality risks compared with abstainers. Further, compared with moderate drinkers for whom a high proportion of ethanol came from wine, those for whom a low proportion of ethanol came from wine were older, were more likely to be male, reported more health problems, were more likely to be tobacco smokers, scored lower on socioeconomic status, and (statistical trend) reported engaging in less physical activity.
Controlling only for overall ethanol consumption, compared with moderate drinkers for whom a high proportion of ethanol came from wine, those for whom a low proportion of ethanol came from wine showed a substantially increased 20-year mortality risk of 85%.
The new study concluded that among older adults who are moderate drinkers, the apparent unique effects of wine on longevity may be explained by confounding factors correlated with wine consumption.
For further information: http://www.bu.edu/alcohol-forum/critique-065-are-there-differences-in-mortality-between-people-consuming-wine-and-those-consuming-other-types-of-alcoholic-beverages-20-december-2011/